Nursing staff from Queen’s and King George Hospital fly to Portugal in recruitment bid

Three members of staff, including the deputy director of nursing and two ward nurses, will spend two

Three members of staff, including the deputy director of nursing and two ward nurses, will spend two days in Portugal as part of the 'recruitment drive' - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Nursing staff will fly to Portugal today to launch a recruitment bid aimed at tackling employment issues faced by Queen’s and King George hospitals due to a “reputation issue”.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust has recently struggled to recruit nurses locally, meaning it has had to start searching further afield, the organisation’s director of nursing Flo Panel-Coates said yesterday.

She said: “We have a bit of a reputation issue. Once they [nurses] work with us, they like it.

“But we still have a bit of work to do to get people to work for us.”

Three members of staff, including the deputy director of nursing and two ward nurses, will spend two days in Portugal as part of the “recruitment drive”.


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The southern European country has been chosen because of the generally high standard of nursing and comparable level of training among nurses, Ms Panel-Coates told Trust board members on Wednesday.

The trip comes six months after figures were unearthed showing the Trust had spent almost £4million on temporary staff.

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Permanent staff shortages, which result in BHRUT spending more than three times the average London trust on staff wages, is one of the reasons the Trust was placed in special measures following a damning CQC report last year.

In it, hospital inspectors said doctors and nurses were avoiding the Trust because of its “reputation”.

However, the practice of actively recruiting nurses abroad is relatively widespread, with at least a third of hospital trusts that responded to a Nursing Times Freedom of Information Act request last year admitting to doing so.

This is despite the fact that four years ago the UK signed a World Health Organisation commitment to becoming self-sufficient in supplying its healthcare workforce. Recruiting abroad can have a negative impact on other countries’ health systems as large numbers of staff leave.

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