Filipino Nurses Provide Support to NHS

The shortage of medical personnel in the NHS is no secret. Hospitals have always struggled to recruit staff for thousands of nursing vacancies - numbers that reached up to 44,000 across England last year. The nursing shortfall has no doubt been worsened this year due to a fall in the number of recruits from Europe, notably Spain and Italy, largely as a result of Brexit and the lingering pandemic.

In an effort to shore up the struggling NHS, many UK hospitals have been seeking out nursing staff from overseas, with the vast majority from the Philippines. In 2020 in fact, more than 100 Filipino nurses were flown in to work at Charing Cross, Hammersmith and St Mary’s hospitals in London.

Headhunting abroad, particularly in the Philippines, is not a new concept. Hospitals have been successfully doing so for decades. A group of 33 Filipino nurses at the Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust at South Tyneside, for instance, is celebrating more than 20 years of living and working in the UK. These nurses, who were some of the very first to join the hospital, are now key members of the Filipino community in Sunderland.

Of course, international nurses have been a part of the diverse NHS workforce for many years. Indeed, as of 2021, there are more than 28,000 Filipino nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals on the permanent register. One of the reasons Filipino nursing staff is so popular in the UK is the fact that nurses in the Philippines are trained very similarly to the UK, which makes their standards comparable. Additionally, English is widely spoken in the Philippines, thus diminishing the risk of a language barrier.

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