‘Pay nurses a proper wage and train our own staff’ before looking overseas

Nursing Standard readers use social media to berate UK government plans to recruit thousands of overseas nurses for care homes this winter
Fair pay demonstration

Nursing Standard readers use social media to berate UK government plans to recruit thousands of overseas nurses for care homes this winter

Picture: iStock

Nurses have urged the government to fix workforce problems from within rather than through overseas recruitment as they once again call for better pay in the UK, with some also highlighting the “atrocious” treatment of nurses in care homes.

The government is considering plans to send health leaders abroad to countries such as India and the Philippines to recruit thousands of foreign nurses for UK care homes amid concerns about staff shortages this winter – a move that Nursing Standard readers have labelled ‘absolutely ridiculous’.

Health secretary Steve Barclay told The Times about the major recruitment drive, as the NHS and social care sector face huge vacancies and struggle to retain staff.

Nurses display their anger at recruitment plans on social media

Posting on Nursing Standard’s Facebook page, many nurses were quick to question why UK nurses were not being paid fairly and why more was not being done to retain staff.

‘Pay fair wages, [and] recruit and retain staff. Simple,” wrote one nurse.

Another added: ‘Pay them a proper wage and train our own staff. We leave these other countries short and then our foreign recruits go home when they see how rubbish all the promises are.’

Nurses also took to Twitter to raise their concerns:

A retired nurse questioned if the move would cost a ‘considerable amount’ of money for managers to go overseas, and then train overseas recruits.

‘So the government does have some spare cash around? Sort out your own country’s nursing problems first before you poach nurses from other countries,’ she continued.

Another person commented on Twitter:

Another pointed out that while NHS trusts have always recruited from abroad and this is ‘not something new’, the treatment of staff in ‘most care homes and home care is atrocious with minimal pay’ and that this needed to be addressed first.

Figures show large increase in overseas recruitment

It was announced this week that around 100 nurses would be flown from Nepal to the UK to work at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in an ‘ethical recruitment’ deal between the two governments.

Concerns have repeatedly been expressed about the UK’s over-reliance on recruits from abroad, with NHS Digital figures showing the share of healthcare staff recruited from overseas almost doubled between 2015 and 2021.

A Nursing and Midwifery Council report published in March showed half of new registrants were trained internationally, including from ‘red list’ countries such as Nigeria.

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