Representatives of the trust which runs Grantham hospital have travelled to the Philippines in the Far East in a bid to fill nursing vacancies.
Interim Head of Nursing at Grantham Hospital John Boulton was in the team from United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust who travelled to the islands on a 12-day trip to recruit registered nurses.
The team returned having made 85 job offers to nurses, 12 of whom it is hoped will fill vancancies at Grantham and the rest in Lincoln and Boston. The hospital currently has 20 vancancies in Grantham for registered nurses.
Mr Boulton said the visit had been very positive and he had been ‘humbled’ by the experience.
He said: “I was very impressed with the level of experience they had. They were very keen to get jobs over here.
“But it was a humbling experience for me because I met a lot of staff who were working in the Philippines as volunteer nurses because they could not get a job. I came across volunteer nurses who were working 40 to 50 hours a week for no pay, simply to gain the experience so they could get a job. Those nurses in a job are degree qualified but their salary is quite poor.”
Before the nurses are recruited, they must have the right qualifications and they must speak a good standard of English. They then have to go through a lengthy process of training and tests in Lincolnshire and they must pass the IELTS (International English language test system) test. Once they have made it through this process, then they can apply for a visa.
Mr Boulton said: “If you were to ask these nurses where they would rather work they would say the Philippines, but there are not enough jobs there. They are making huge sacrifices to come out to this country.”
A previous visit to the Philippines by a ULHT team in January resulted in 125 nurses being offered jobs, 10 of which were at Grantham Hospital.
Mr Boulton said trusts had to recruit from abroad because there are not enough nurses being trained in the UK. He said fewer people were attracted to nursing because bursaries were no longer available for the training which takes three to four years.