Health service trusts in England are to be given additional funding to recruit nurses from overseas amid record staff shortages and increased demands.
For nurses recruited between 1 January and 31 March 2023, trusts will be able to claim £7,000 per overseas nurse from NHS England. This is up to £4,000 higher than the financial support on offer during 2021-22.
The move was unveiled by NHS Employers on its website last week and confirmed to Nursing Times by NHS England.
NHS Employers said the additional funding reflected the rising costs of flights, accommodation and preparation costs for the nursing and midwifery objective structured clinical examination (OSCE).
The OSCE forms part two of the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s test of competence and is a practical exam in which overseas nurses and midwives are tested on their clinical and communication skills.
Responding to the move, Unison’s head of health, Sara Gorton, said: “Extra cash to tackle the chronic staffing shortages in the NHS is essential.”
She warned that, until NHS staff vacancies ware addressed, there “will be a need for overseas recruitment”. “But it has to be done in the best interests of the individual workers,” she added.
Ms Gorton highlighted ongoing concerns about unethical recruitment of nurses from overseas and the poor treatment many report facing.
“Sadly, overseas nurses are still being exploited by unscrupulous care and health employers,” she said. “This is no way to treat those who come to offer the UK their help.”
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Source: Nursing Times, 27 September 2022