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Health board to recruit 900 overseas nurses

2023-06-11 00:47:34 source:The Washington Post author:Press center5 click:905order

Nearly 900 nurses could be recruited in the next four years to plug workforce shortages at one health board.

Many of the nurses will be recruited from Kerala, India.

Gareth Howells, director of nursing and patient experience at Swansea Bay health board, said overseas recruitment provided an "immediacy of really experienced staff".

However, there are concerns about whether enough is being done to train homegrown nurses.

A total of 350 are to be recruited from overseas in the current financial year, subject to approval by chief executive Mark Hackett, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Agency nurses and the health board's nursing bank help plug shortages, which are as high as 40% in acute care and surgery.

Searching for overseas recruitment is a cheaper option, despite short-term recruitment costs of about £9,000 per nurse.

It would cost about £4.7m to employ 350 overseas nurses in 2023-24, but this would save £1.5m in agency and nursing bank costs.

According to the report, overseas nurses were offered a band five contract, with a starting salary of £27,055, but initially received a band four wage until they completed their UK registration.

A board meeting heard that efforts were being made by the health board, which covers Swansea and Neath Port Talbot, and the Welsh government to train and retain more homegrown staff.

The health board employs nearly 4,200 nurses and midwives, with the report saying it had "1,322 nurses and midwives currently over the age of 51 that could retire very soon or over the next few years".

The health board told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that it recruited from the Philippines, Africa and the Caribbean, as well as India.

The overseas category also includes nurses from the European Union (EU) but the health board said it received "very few" EU applications.

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