Hundreds of Indian Nurses will help plug the workforce shortages at NHS Wales this year, as the Swansea Bay University Health Board shared details of its on-boarding of 107 new nurses through a recent recruitment event in India. The board is aiming to fill a total of 900 positions in the next four years, starting with an estimated 350 overseas nurses this year.
The new recruits, who are a mixture of medical, surgical and theatre nurses, have joined the workforce post-training this month. They have been taken on board from a recruitment event held in Kochi, in the southern Indian coastal state of Kerala, earlier this year to help fill a shortage of Band Five nurses in its Morriston Hospital. Many of these Indian nurses come with 15 years of work experience.
Before being able to join the mainstream workforce, they had to follow compliance checks and obtain visas. The nurses faced a four-week OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination) training programme in the health board’s Nurse Education Training Suite based in Baglan HQ before sitting an exam to attain their Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) registration.
Lynne Jones, the Head of Nursing Education and Recruitment at the Swansea Bay University Health Board, said: “We went to India to recruit medical, surgical and theatre nurses. This is where we have the most Band 5 vacancies.
“As part of the overseas nursing recruitment campaign, we decided to hold a face-to-face event which is something we were unable to do during the height of the pandemic.”
The recent trip to India has helped bolster its numbers, while the health board continues to welcome more student nurses to help raise staffing levels. The health board will consider a return visit to India in the next few months.
The decision to recruit specifically from India was based on the country’s high number of qualified nurses.
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Jones added: “We need overseas nurses here, while for them, it’s an opportunity to develop their skills further and experience a different lifestyle.
“In countries such as India, there is a surplus of trained nurses. Ethically, we can recruit from these countries as they are not being left short of quality nurses.”