NHS prepares for global recruitment campaign

As reported by the BBC, the UK’s health service is planning a major recruitment drive across Europe and beyond

The NHS is preparing a major campaign to recruit healthcare workers from abroad, in an attempt to meet growing needs across the sector.

A number of countries are to be specifically targeted, including some poorer non-European countries.

The NHS Employers organisation has a list of countries which it has agreed not to target due to the state of their own health systems and the economic conditions of the nation.

NHS Employers told the BBC that individuals “sometimes come to the UK independently on their own initiative without encouragement or support from the NHS.”

The NHS already recruits internationally, with 12% of the NHS workforce currently non-British.

56 in every 1,000 workers are from the EU.

However, European staff numbers are falling – especially, as reported last week, in nursing.

In 2015-16, 19% of NHS nurses were EU-trained. By 2017-18, this had fallen to 7.9%.

Outside of Europe, the majority of international NHS workers are from India, followed by Pakistan, Egypt and Nigeria.

For nurses, the biggest numbers are from the Philippines and India.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has said the numbers from outside Europe registering for the first time surged by 126% in a year.

Some non-EU healthcare workers are attracted to working in the UK due to the challenges with their own public healthcare systems.

World Health Organisation (WHO) data for 2015 shows that the UK had more than 27 doctors per 10,000 people, while Pakistan had fewer than 10, and India had under eight.

The UK, in 2015, had more than than eight nurses and midwives for every 1,000 people, while the Philippines had 0.24.

An additional advantage for international healthcare staff who work abroad is that they can learn valuable new skills, and contribute to their own country’s economies through remittances.

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WHO estimates that, by 2030, there will be a need for more than 18m extra health workers around the world – and the worst shortages will be in poorer countries.

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