Health bosses at the South Tyneside and Sunderland Healthcare Group are looking for a recruitment drive in the Philippines this 2018.
The trip is planned for February this year, with a view to attracting over 100 nurses to come and work in both South Tyneside District Hospital and Sunderland Royal Hospital.
Health chiefs say the decision is the result of joint working across the Healthcare Group and follows a strategic staffing review. Deliveries are currently suspended in the maternity unit at South Tyneside Hospital after the special care baby unit was closed down because, managers say, there is a shortage of specialised staff.
It follows on from the long-term recruitment of Filipino nurses for over a decade in Sunderland. The move signals a commitment to address some of the long-term challenges facing the nursing and midwifery workforce.
The new recruits will also work at Sunderland Eye Infirmary. Hospital bosses say they will cover a range of specialties including emergency care, acute medicine and care of the elderly.
Melanie Johnson, executive director of nursing and patient experience for South Tyneside and City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trusts, said: “Nursing and midwifery is a complex, demanding profession. I am extremely proud of our existing workforce who do an exceptional job every single day.
“As we look ahead to 2018, we have a number of exciting plans to expand our nursing and midwifery workforce and the overseas element is just one important part of this.
“For many years, we have welcomed many Filipino nurses into the NHS in the region and there is already a very strong sense of community and belonging which I hope will help us attract even more nurses of the highest calibre to join our teams in South Tyneside and Sunderland.”
She added: “It is important, given the pressures facing our NHS and the demands on our existing workforce that we continue to explore all possible opportunities to attract more people into our organisations and I am confident that by working together as the South Tyneside and Sunderland Healthcare Group that we will be able to do just that.”
Both Trusts are already working with the University of Sunderland after launching the new nursing school in April 2016 and are expecting the first cohort of ‘home grown’ graduates who will be able to apply for permanent posts in 2019.
All new recruits from overseas will be required to meet the new registration process from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) which sets the standards of education and training that overseas nurses will have to complete. Recruitment is also taking place for any local candidates. (By Shields Gazette UK)