Midlands’ largest overseas recruitment drive attracts 1,100 new nurses to the NHS

More than 1,100 international nurses will have been recruited across the Black Country and West Birmingham by the end of 2022, making it the largest ever such recruitment drive in the Midlands.

Organised through The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, the campaign recruited more than 600 nurses from abroad in 2021, to work in locations across the Black Country and West Birmingham Integrated Care System.

The nurses have arrived from countries around the world including the Philippines, South Africa, Brazil, Ghana, Nigeria, Nepal and India. More than 500 of these are already in work, with the remaining nurses set to arrive over the next three months.

292 have been recruited to work for Royal Wolverhampton, while 189 are employed at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust. There are 75 each at Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust and The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, and 15 at Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

Following the programme’s initial success, an additional 465 nurses are also set to be recruited by the end of this year.

The programme was developed to recruit nurses to help fill growing local demands, and it complements intensive efforts being made across the system to train and recruit more nurses locally. The initiative is called the Clinical Fellowship Programme, and it was set up four years ago by Professor Ann-Marie Cannaby, Chief Nurse of RWT and interim Deputy Chief Executive of Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, and Zoe Marsh, Associate Director of People at RWT.

The programme built on the success of a CFP for doctors that launched in 2016. RWT has already won numerous national awards for the nursing CFP, including Best Inclusion & Equality Practice, Best Recruitment Experience, Best Organisation for Learning and Development and Best UK Employer for Nursing at the Nursing Times Workforce Awards.

To help international nurses settle in, a ‘buddying’ system is in place where each nurse is paired with an international colleague who has been here for six months or more. This is to help support them with such things as our language and cultures, as well as practicalities like accommodation, paying bills, travelling, shopping and schooling for their children. Zoe said:

“Working collaboratively across Black Country and West Birmingham, all NHS organisations have been fundamental to the success of recruiting international nurses for our collective workforce.

“Our international nursing colleagues bring with them vast nursing experience, that supports us as a health and social care system in providing high quality patient care to the population we serve.”


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