Overseas nurses helping plug Gloucestershire NHS shortages

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Image source, NHS
Image caption, The nurses recently arrived in Gloucestershire

"Experienced" foreign nurses have been recruited to help plug NHS staffing shortages across Gloucestershire.

A total of 40 frontline staff have been signed up to work in the county's hospitals from countries including India and the Philippines under an NHS England scheme.

They will help address an estimated national shortage of almost 40,000 nurses.

One of the nurses, Haila, said they have received a "warm welcome".

'Beautiful place'

She added: "The Forest of Dean is a beautiful place and we have really enjoyed getting to know the local area and the people.

"We are excited to begin working in the hospital and using our skills to support the local community."

Haila is among a group of four "experienced and trained" nurses who arrived in Lydney a few weeks ago.

Her colleagues are called Sudharani, Tehmy and Achu.

The group - part of a cohort of 40 nurses recruited over the past six months - are currently undergoing an induction programme which culminates in an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE).

Should they pass they can obtain a Personal Identification Number (PIN) via the Nursing and Midwifery Council which allows them to practice.

Image source, NHS
Image caption, Matron Cheryl Haswell said there was a "well-recognised shortage" of nurses

The Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust - which runs Lydney and Dilke Hospital - is funding their training and their first 12 weeks of accommodation.

After that they are given support to find permanent accommodation as well as ongoing pastoral support, the trust said.

Many plan on bringing their families to the UK once they are more settled, the trust said.

'Well-recognised shortage'

Cheryl Haswell, matron for Lydney and Dilke Hospitals, said there is a "well-recognised shortage of nurses" in the UK.

The additional strain that the Covid pandemic has left the NHS "greatly in need of some further expertise and support", she added.

Image source, Google
Image caption, The four nurses are currently training at Lydney Hospital

She added: "The nurses we have recruited from overseas will be a huge boost to us in our community hospitals and we are really glad they have chosen to come here to support our local people."

'Ethical' recruitment

The trust's director of nursing John Trevains said there was a "long tradition" of recruiting from overseas.

He was also at pains to point out that "recruitment is ethical and that nurses are not being recruited from countries where they have their own shortage of qualified staff".

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