Health Education England has revealed that the NHS will source more than 5,500 nurses from overseas.
Professor Ian Cumming, Chief Executive of Health Education England, told the House of Commons Health Committee on Tuesday that ‘somewhere in the region of 5,500 nurses’ would be brought into the country to “earn, learn and return”. He went on add that the NHS will be piloting this initially with India but an international rollout is to be expected.
The news comes only months after the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) advised an urgent patient safety review after ongoing concerns around the sharp drop in nurses.
According to a Health Education England spokesperson, 500 nurses will start working in NHS hospitals across the country by the end of 2017/18.
However, the spokesperson said in a statement that this was in fact ‘not a recruitment programme’ as the nurses will be expected to “earn, learn and return”.
Professor Ged Byrne, Health Education England’s Director of Global Engagement, said;
“This is not a recruitment programme. The nurses will not stay, but learn and then return to the Indian healthcare system after benefiting the NHS through providing service whilst here, and benefiting themselves and India by going back as more experienced and skilled nurses.
“We are trialling the scheme to ensure it offers value for money for the NHS and improves the quality of care in here and in India.”
It is unknown, at this time, if the nurses would be offered a chance to stay and work in the NHS.