• 05 July 2021
  • 3 min read

Recruitment Of Overseas Nurses ‘Should Continue’ Says Chief Nurse

  • Matt Farrah
    Co-Founder
    • Mat Martin
    • Aubrey Hollebon
    • Richard Gill
    • Aisha Seidu Peligah
  • 1
  • 1266
"Put simply, the NHS wouldn’t have coped during the peak of the pandemic without its overseas Nurses – or its desperate overseas recruitment drive."

During the Covid-19 pandemic, recruitment of overseas nurses in the UK saw a sharp increase. However, whether this should continue is now subject to heavy debate. Here's our summary.

Topics covered in this article

Introduction

Student Applications Up – But So Is Overseas Recruiting

Which Way Will The UK Go?

Introduction

The NHS’ Chief Nurse Ruth May has given overseas nursing recruitment a big stamp of approval.

This runs contrary to the view presented recently by Dido Harding, who is currently vying to replace Sir Simon Stevens as head of the NHS.

The difference of opinion has brought overseas recruitment back into the spotlight, with this issue set to be fundamental to the future of NHS nursing numbers.

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Student Applications Up – But So Is Overseas Recruiting

With UCAS reporting record numbers of nursing student applications, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the pandemic has helped to inspire prospective Nurses.

But in reality, this uptick in applications isn’t big enough to make a serious dent in ongoing vacancy rates or to meet the government’s ambitious targets.

Before the pandemic began, the NHS was short of around 40,000 full-time Nurses.

Perhaps even more importantly, the NHS has been actively recruiting Nurses from abroad throughout the pandemic – and in large numbers.

More than 8000 overseas Nurses were recruited between the Summer of 2020 and March 2021 alone.

They join around 170,00 NHS staff out of 1.28 million who report a non-British nationality.

Currently, it seems quite clear that the NHS needs more Nurses – both from the UK and abroad.

Which Way Will The UK Go?

Something has to give in this debate – and logic would suggest that overseas recruiting will continue.

Put simply, the NHS wouldn’t have coped during the peak of the pandemic without its overseas Nurses – or its desperate overseas recruitment drive.

Meanwhile, the government still plans to recruit an extra 50,000 Nurses by 2024/25.

And earlier this year, the government actually cut restrictions on nursing recruitment with more than 100 different countries.

Without question, there’s a difference of opinion among some of the most influential people within this debate.

But at the frontline, which Ruth May is much closer to, the view is almost certainly unanimous: this is not the time to be discussing a restriction of any recruitment channel.

As she herself explained: “bringing in the sharpest talent from abroad should go hand in hand with continuing to train up the best and brightest at home.”

Nonetheless, Dido Harding’s view will have many supporters.

And it has been noted that increasing overseas recruitment of healthcare workers may be unethical during a global pandemic.

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About the author

  • Matt Farrah
    Co-Founder

I studied English before moving into publishing in the mid 90s. I co-founded Nurses.co.uk and our other three sites in 2008. I wanted to provide a platform that gives a voice to those working in health and social care. I'm fascinated, generally, by the career choices we all make. But I'm especially interested in the stories told by those who choose to spend their life supporting others. They are mostly positive and life-affirming stories, despite the considerable challenges and burdens faced.

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  • Matt Farrah
    Co-Founder

About the author

  • Matt Farrah
    Co-Founder

I studied English before moving into publishing in the mid 90s. I co-founded Nurses.co.uk and our other three sites in 2008. I wanted to provide a platform that gives a voice to those working in health and social care. I'm fascinated, generally, by the career choices we all make. But I'm especially interested in the stories told by those who choose to spend their life supporting others. They are mostly positive and life-affirming stories, despite the considerable challenges and burdens faced.

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    • Ron Taylor 24 days ago
      Ron Taylor
    • Ron Taylor
      24 days ago

      My Daughter is British and trained as a nurse in the Philippines since being back in the UK she has ... read more

      • Thanks for sharing that Ron.

        Replied by: Matt Farrah

        The problem with our NHS and our nursing profession is this. 1. There are to many old fashioned thinkers like managers who will or don’t want to move forward our NHS is outdated. Needs modern thinkers... read more

        The problem with our NHS and our nursing profession is this. 1. There are to many old fashioned thinkers like managers who will or don’t want to move forward our NHS is outdated. Needs modern thinkers open up to what other countries do better and have higher standards. Plus better training. As for nursing it’s not what you know in the NHS it’s who you know. Which sets a bad standard too many jumped up manager are not qualified for those leadership roles they are not trained to manage people only paperwork I know very well as I’ve worked around the world and the NHS is the most disorganised poor standard compared to the countries I’ve lived and worked in. NHS is to stressful I would not recommend anyone to come into our healthcare system whether NHS or private.
        read less

        Replied by: Ron Taylor