International Permanent Nurse Recruitment
Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust
Following the announcement of the UK’s intention to leave the EU in June 2016, there was an immediate and significant drop off in applications from European-trained nurses to work in the UK, with many who had already settled here also expressing intentions to return home.
With demand rising and workforce shortages steadily increasing, there was an immediate need to begin recruiting more nurses from international locations such as India and the Philippines to plug the gap left by European nurses working within the UK healthcare system.
In 2016, Salisbury NHS began a challenging year, facing a deficit for the first time in their history. Due to an increase in non-elective activity and delayed transfers of care to appropriate community settings, the Trust needed to open more temporary bed accommodation, which would require expensive agency nurses to be used.
They recognised that to make considerable savings and safeguard the efficient delivery of clinical services, they needed to recruit more permanent, fulltime nurses and reduce their reliance on temporary staff.
Medacs Healthcare began implementing a new, internationally-focused range of permanent nursing recruitment campaigns for Salisbury in May 2016, initially in the Philippines.
Partnerships were quickly established with two accredited recruitment agents and the top local IELTS provider to provide full support with IELTS, OET and CBT.
Since then, this partnership model has been replicated in India and three further dedicated recruitment campaigns have taken place on behalf of the Trust, with very successful results.
The latest campaign in 2019 comprised of in-country interviews with 119 nurses in two locations - Cochi and Mumbai, and resulted in a total of 90 offers, 87 of the nurses offered had already passed the IELTS exam.
This strategy facilitated an increased number of arrivals year on year. Up to 90 new international nurses began working in permanent roles for Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust by the end of 2019, which significantly eased the burden of winter pressures for the Trust.
This brought the total number of permanent nurses recruited into Salisbury by Medacs Healthcare to well over 200, with retention consistently above 99%.
Key factors to the success of these permanent nursing recruitment projects were:
Intelligent geo-targeted candidate attraction campaigns – focused on India and the UAE and utilising Medacs Healthcare’s extensive candidate database
Early investment in a three-month-long scholarship programme for nurses to prepare them for international exams. As a result of this training, 90% of recruits pass IELTS on their first attempt.
High-quality candidates - a specific focus on nurses with one to two years’ experience, resulting in a higher exam pass rate and easier onboarding and induction onto specialist Trust wards. Medacs Healthcare’s approach to vetting and compliance is rigorous, with only 60% of applicants making it through the pre-screening process.
Full support with paperwork, guiding nurses through the NMC and visa application processes and supporting Trust staff with Certificate of Sponsorship applications to minimise mistakes that could cause delays or visa rejections.
A multi-lingual team of permanent recruitment specialists, able to communicate with applicants in their native languages and discuss their concerns with a clear understanding of their circumstances and the cultural context.
Exceptional aftercare with meet and greet, ‘welcome to the UK’ packs provided to all nurse arrivals and the establishment of a buddy scheme and social networks to support nurses to settle fully in the UK.