Harrogate District Hospital sees sharp rise in number of overseas nurses being recruited
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Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, like many health trusts across the country, has increasingly relied on overseas workers to plug the gap left by UK-based nurses leaving the profession.
It says low pay and working conditions are leading to a “mass exodus” of young nurses from hospitals.
A report published by the Royal College of Nursing in February found that between 2018 and 2022, nearly 43,000 people aged 21 to 50 left the Nursing and Midwifery Council register.
A freedom of information request submitted by the Local Democracy Reporting Service found that 31 nurses were recruited from overseas last year, which is almost three times higher than the figure for 2021.
The figures also show ten doctors were recruited last year from abroad.
Since 2017, the trust has recruited nurses from India, Nigeria, the Phillipines, Sri Lanka and the USA but a Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust spokesperson said the number makes up a small number of their total workforce.
The social care sector has also looked to employ more overseas workers to help ease a well-documented staffing crisis, with North Yorkshire Council recently bringing in over 30 care professionals from South Africa and Zimbabwe.
A Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust spokesperson said: “Recruitment from outside of the UK is an important part of the workforce supply strategy of NHS organisations, including Harrogate and District NHS Foundation.
"Recruiting internationally enhances our workforce with different skills, experience, expertise and perspectives.
“Whilst the majority of our workforce are employed from within the UK, we have an active programme of recruiting nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals from overseas, which complements our national recruitment activity as well as supporting the development of a multicultural workforce more representative of the people we serve.
“To ensure ethical recruitment, we do this work in collaboration with other NHS organisations.
"For instance, we are in partnership with the Kerala Government in India for nursing and allied health professional recruitment via the West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership.
“Staff members who have been recruited from overseas have stayed in Harrogate to continue their careers in the NHS and are a valued part of our workforce, and we will continue to recruit internationally in the future.
“Whilst overseas recruitment has grown over the last few years in a number of areas, it still remains a small part of our recruitment activity.
“We value every member of our workforce and the important role they play in providing a health care service that we can all be proud of.”