Last updated: 9/26/2009 12:00:00 PM
SIXTY nurses are being brought over from the Philippines to work in Colchester's main hospital due to a shortage of appropriate healthcare staff in the UK.
A total of 80 additional nurses have already been hired by the Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust which is increasing the number of its beds this winter.
But due to problems attracting qualified and experienced nurses in the UK the trust sent staff to the Philippines to try and recruit more nurses there.
In total, the trust is currently looking to hire about 130 healthcare staff, with the biggest gaps in specialist medicine.
Yesterday, a spokesman said: “We went over to the Philippines in the early summer and recruited 60 Filipino nurses.
“The reason for choosing the Philippines was that we had recruited from there before about five years ago and it worked very well, both in terms of the quality of work and the retention figures.”
The spokesman added that hiring staff from the Philippines was approved by the Department of Health and that the first 15 staff would be taking up their positions in November.
“There is a national problem with recruiting experienced and qualified nurses staff in the UK - there just are not enough.
“We are very successful at recruiting healthcare assistants from the community and that is not proving a problem.
“However, in common with lots of other hospitals, we are not finding it easy to recruit experienced staff at a reasonably senior level from the UK.”
The spokesman added that by March next year the trust hoped to have a full complement of staff.
He added that the hospital had recently set up a peripatetic nursing team that was able to swiftly plug any staff gaps that arose in various medical fields.
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