30th July 2015

Image: Recruiting Foreign Nurses.“The recent BBC news item, Recruiting foreign nurses 'frustrating and expensive' illustrates what we as the Sector Skills Council for the UK Health Sector appreciate; many NHS organisations are facing recruitment challenges and are looking overseas for a solution. From our international engagement, we’re beginning to see the emergence of an increasingly competitive global marketplace for healthcare workers. We are seeing increasing investment and growth in healthcare systems in Gulf Corporation Countries (GGC) countries and in the other developing nations, all of which are seeking increased numbers of healthcare staff. We see many countries trying to draw labour from the same overseas sources. All of this activity presents the real risk of driving up health care (predominately NHS) costs in the UK.

That is why we at Skills for Health stress the importance of good strategic and integrated workforce planning at both a local and regional level. Fundamentally, this leads to the development of appropriate recruitment strategies for staff development and progression. This aids in addressing skills needs, effective use of apprenticeships and assistant practitioners, the creation of new roles and the right investment in education and training.

It is, therefore, no coincidence that our activities and expertise are geared to helping employers address workforce challenges such as staff shortages, recruitment difficulties and rising costs. It is no coincidence that we have developed the Skills for Health “Bridging Programme” designed to enable staff to progress to and succeed in health professional roles including nursing. Planning the workforce strategically and developing new progression routes for staff, I believe, will solve many of the recruitment problems we face.”

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Sam Gallaher, Executive Director