Flow of Northampton General Hospital nurses recruited from EU countries 'has dried up'

Nurses and midwives were being welcomed from Portugal, Spain and Italy in 2011, when NGH started its European recruitment campaign
Nurses and midwives were being welcomed from Portugal, Spain and Italy in 2011, when NGH started its European recruitment campaign

Northampton General Hospital bosses have revealed that overseas recruitment of nurses from the Europe Union countries has ‘dried up’

Part of the reason is thought to be the Brexit effect, with continuing uncertainty over immigrants’ status in the UK after a deal with Brussels is finalised.

But NGH board papers also reveal that the hospital has changed tack because of something called the Immigration Skills Charge introduced by the Government in April. It means there is an extra cost - about a thousand pounds per employee each year - that employers must pay to secure foreign workers a visa for more than six months -

Janine Brennan, a workforce director, said: “Overseas recruitment is becoming more difficult and as a result ofthe immigration skills charge the costs of doing so are rising. This difficulty in recruiting from overseas is reflected in the recent report that there has been a 96% reduction in the numbers of EU nurses applying for registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Council.”

Board papers show efforts made by NGH between January 2017 and August 2017 to employ 30 overseas recruits.

Since then, two nurses have arrived from Romania and 30 nurses from India but papers describe the EU market as “effectively dried up.”

An NGH spokeswoman said: “To attract great nursing staff in an increasingly competitive environment, we have to be able to adapt quickly to the changing recruitment landscape. In response to the evolving international situation, we are refocusing our recruitment strategy at a local and national level.”

Talks are still taking place with recruitment consultancies on the continent about Dutch nurses, although bosses concede Brexit will hamper their chances of success.