Hospitals head to Spain in £1m drive for nurses

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Bosses running three Yorkshire hospitals are launching a £1.2 million drive to recruit more nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants including staff from abroad.

Sixty Spanish nurses will be among those appointed by the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs hospitals in Wakefield, Dewsbury and Pontefract.

The move follows feedback from staff and comes in the wake of Ministers’ response to the landmark Francis Report into the Mid Staffordshire NHS trust to maintain a ratio of one registered nurse per eight patients.

Earlier this month, managers at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield temporarily closed an elderly care ward due to staff shortages and inspectors raised concerns about staffing on four wards at Dewsbury and Pinderfields last spring.

David Melia, interim deputy chief nurse at the trust, said: “As part of our campaign we’re looking to recruit 60 nurses from Spain over the next six months.

“This is to support our domestic recruitment plan to ensure that we have a safe and sustainable nurse-to-patient ratio in our inpatient areas. All new recruits will go through a full and rigorous selection process that tests both the professional and clinical skills of the applicants as well as their communication skills.

“Our recruitment drive is in response to a number of things including feedback from staff about nursing levels on our wards and also the recommendations within the Francis Report. There are also fewer nurses entering the profession as a result of reduced training places within universities which came into effect a few years ago. Given that all NHS trusts are facing similar issues, we are finding that the labour market is very competitive hence the need to also look overseas.”

The trust joins others in recruiting from Spain where health staff were among those badly hit by the eurozone crisis. The Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS trust has already taken on nurses from Spain and Portugal.

Among those being recruited will be theatre nurses after national shortages left the Mid Yorkshire trust paying premium rates to fill rotas. The trust is holding an open day for undergraduate nurses and those looking for new jobs in nursing on June 24.