BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Health
Front Page 
UK Politics 
Background Briefings 
Medical notes 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
Thursday, 27 April, 2000, 15:55 GMT 16:55 UK
Foreign nurses drafted in to UK
Filipino nurses
Filipino nurses are filling vacancies in the NHS
Two UK hospitals are to recruit nurses from the Far East to ease staffing crises.

This is despite opposition from the Department of Health, which fears the UK may be draining much-needed talent from the Third World.

More than 100 jobs at Leeds General Infirmary and St James' Hospital, Leeds, have been offered to nurses from Manila and Singapore.

They will help fill some of the 400 vacancies at the two hospitals in fields such as kidney care, heart treatment and elderly medicine.

The first group of nurses is due in July. They will live in nursing accommodation and will be paid the same rate as British nurses.

The arrival of nurses from the Philippines is one strand in a comprehensive recruitment package designed to boost nursing staffing levels

Leeds Teaching Hospital

A Leeds Teaching Hospitals spokesman said: "In common with most other trusts up and down the country, we have a serious nursing shortage.

"The arrival of nurses from the Philippines is one strand in a comprehensive recruitment package designed to boost nursing staffing levels."

Health chiefs from Leeds flew to Asia last month to interview the nurses.

Those who have been offered jobs are highly-trained bilingual university graduates who have at least two years' practical experience.

The spokesman said the Leeds trust had also launched a new nurse cadet scheme to start in September and will open up nursing opportunities to school leavers.

Yorkshire Unison health spokeswoman Sheila Robinson said the union welcomed the steps the trust had taken to fill the gaps in the service provision by bringing in professionals from abroad.

"However, the broader issue of recruitment and retention problems in the NHS remains," she added.

Estimates suggest that there are up to 3,600 nurses and midwives from countries including the Philippines, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Finland and the Third World working in British hospitals.

Ministers claim thousands of nurses have been attracted back to the profession as a result of family friendly policies. They have also sanctioned significant pay rises for all grades over the last two years.

However, nursing unions have warned that thousands of posts are still unfilled.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

03 Apr 00 | Health
Nurses: Six months to save NHS
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to other Health stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Health stories