The recruitment of nurses internationally is key to achieve the national goals to expand the workforce and fill in the 10% vacancy rate. NHS England and NHS Improvement conducted new research on overseas recruitment to identify key factors that attract or deter nurses from choosing to work in the UK.
Due to the pandemic and its challenges presented in the healthcare system, the government offered to increase the number of NHS nurses to 50,000 by 2025.
The widespread vacancy is addressed by different approaches such as improved retention, increase in nurses being trained domestically and inviting retired NHS workers back into practice and employment.
Although feasible, these approaches may take time and the recruitment of international healthcare workers remains to be the most effective in solving the current issue.
nuffieldtrust.org.uk identified factors that attract or deter staff from choosing to work within the NHS.
- A total of 39,000 full time posts are vacant as of2021. That is a 10% vacancy rate for nurses.
- According to statistics, recruited overseas nurses are more likely to remain in the NHS than nurses of UK nationality (93% versus 90%) and more likely to remain in the same organisation (89% versus 84%). This data is based for the year to October 2019.
- Around 1 in 16 nurses (around 6%) are seen to be moving to another NHS organisation in a year.
- Statistically, 97% of full-time contracted international nurses have more working hours recorded versus the 93% UK nationality.
- An EU national is estimated to work in hospital and community services for 6 years before leaving but an overseas nurse is estimated to work for 12 years.
- There is national funding to support the use of agency nurses and increase in the number of domestic training courses? despite the upfront costs of recruiting nurses from overseas (around £10,000 to £12,000).
- Any savings from not recruiting internationally would typically be written off within six months to two-and-a-half years.
- Overseas recruitment plays an important role in increasing nurse numbers to meet in the short- and medium-term goal.