Spanish nurses join the ranks of foreign recruits fleeing the NHS after just months in the job

The language barrier, trouble adjusting and the weather force hundreds to return home

LAST UPDATED: 20 Feb, 2015 @ 14:51
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HUNDREDS of foreign nurses, recruited from Spain, Portugal and Italy, are leaving Britain to return home.

Understaffed hospitals in the UK have forced the NHS to recruit thousands of nurses from across Europe, in batches of up to 30 at a time.

But 943 of the 5,680 nurses recruited over the last two years – a total of 17% – have left their posts after just a few months.

Many cite the language barrier and the trouble adjusting to the different healthcare system as the reason for leaving, while others blame the weather or distance from family and friends.

Despite hundreds of thousands of pounds being spent by the British health service, 13 hospital trusts lost at least half of the foreign nurses hired in the last two years.

An estimated 20,000 NHS nursing posts are currently unfilled, leading to a four-fold increase of foreign recruits between 2013 and 2014.

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of Patients Association, said the figures highlight how recruiting overseas nurses was only a ‘temporary, short-term measure.’

“We hear from patients on our helpline that there are real issues with nurses from other countries, including problems with communication and a lack of understanding of processes and procedures.”

Meanwhile Dr Peter Carter, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, blames the NHS for the problems with foreign staff.

He said: “The last couple of years have seen increasingly desperate attempts to plug the gap with more nurses from overseas, who have undoubtedly made a huge contribution and kept the NHS afloat.

“Some of the sums spent on recruiting staff have been ludicrous and the fact that Trusts are not able to keep hold of them is a natural result of years of lackadaisical workforce planning in the NHS.”

8 COMMENTS

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  1. My partner was involved in specialised nurse training and many on getting qualified then left straightaway to other countries where nurses had to pay for their training aka USA.

    This does’nt just apply to nurses, when I worked in the Netherlands many of the dentists were UK trained.

    The answer is very simple – if you want to be funded in your training by UK tax payers then you must sign a contract to work for the NHS for a set number of years say 10 at least. It costs over £750K to train a doctor – take a look at the % that straightaway leave the country – there’s your problem.
    The NHS has been torn to pieces and not just by the Nasty Party. Get rid of all the grossly overpaid managers (with zero compensation). Take all the catering/cleaning/maintenance back into control by the hospitals. Tear up the PFI funding contracts and let the conmen who wrote these contracts whistle for the money and think of ways to punish those politicians who signed them off.
    Let nurses and doctors who are abused by drunks defend themselves and refuse any treatment whatsoever to them – that will raise moral at a stroke.

  2. These unfortunate Spanish nurses (and other nationalities) are square pegs in round holes, compounded by lousy, incompetent, desperate human resources managers. Who are under the cosh of of lousy, incompetent, desperate Tory politicians. Who in their turn are desperate to do away with the British Welfare State in all its shapes and forms.

  3. Didn’t any of those nurses come from Northern Spain huh. They do get weather there too. I also doubt they would have been aware of the admin structures to the extent of noticing the politics. They were probably homesick. The average Spanish youth don’t leave home until they are 28. Ok for making a political point though, rolling eyes!

  4. True Stuart. All I have is one small vote and one big gob. Judicious use of both by ENOUGH people would bring about change. The emphasis is on “enough” though. For good or ill, that’s what happened in Greece.

  5. Sorry stefanjo,
    but you know very well that effective change in a society does’nt come about by voting or by people shouting now does it, it never has and it never will. The French elite looked at Thatcher’s attempt to introduce the poll tax and when they saw the reaction in Scotland they knew that if they tried to bring in such an outrageous tax in France it would have meant revolution, nothing less. That will never happen in the UK because overwhelmingly Brits are too frightened to take the ultimate step and the UK establishment knows that very well.

    As for Greece – it did’nt take very long for Syriza to betray their election promises and do a deal with German/French banks and the IMF. The question is what will the ordinary Greeks do now, if they feel they have been betrayed by the government they elected – vamos a ver.

  6. As I said Stuart “for good or ill” the changes in Greece came about via the Democratic process, not violent revolution which I think you come close to advocating. France, despite it’s revolutionary past, does not demonstrate a remarkedly better system than other Western societies.
    You know as well as anyone, The true masters of our universe are the kings of Capitalism, only a political revolution will deal with the rascals. Breaking windows and torching buildings won’t touch those guys.
    I think we essentially agree on the destination, just not the vehicle for getting there.

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