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Health boards team up to tackle shortage of nurses

26 Mar 2024 3 minute read
Health Minister Eluned Morgan signed an agreement with the Government of Kerala to bring qualified healthcare professionals from India to work in the Welsh NHS.

Two health board are working together to combat the severe shortage of nurses in Wales.

Swansea Bay is currently training 14 international nurses to fill band five (entry level) vacancies at Velindre University NHS Trust.

According to NHS figures, there were 2,300 vacancies in nursing, midwifery and health visiting in Wales last year, with the Royal College of Nursing in Wales estimating 3,000 new recruits will be required this year.

Earlier this month health minister Eluned Morgan signed an agreement with the Keralan government to recruit 250 nurses and doctors from the Indian state.

Although the new recruits in Swansea are already trained nurses, they need to undergo additional training before being able to register as a nurse in the UK.

Training programme

Following compliance checks and obtaining a visa, overseas nurses face a four-week OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination) training programme in the health board’s dedicated Nurse Education Training Suite based in Baglan before sitting an exam to attain their Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) registration.

Velindre University NHS Trust is a specialist provider of cancer services in Wales and operates the Velindre Cancer Service from its centre in Cardiff and other health care settings across south east Wales.

Velindre’s overseas nurses training in Swansea Bay’s training centre in Baglan.

Vivienne Cooper, Head of Nursing for Velindre Cancer Service, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Swansea Bay on this initiative.

“Learning from their vast experience is incredibly valuable and as is the opportunity for our trainers to observe OSCE training delivery for future use.

“We have been very impressed with the support we have received and the pastoral care to our nurses whilst staying in Swansea. It’s an excellent example of Welsh health care working together to improve our services.”

Agency staff

Health boards in Wales recruit staff from abroad to fill staff shortages and reduce expenditure on agency staff.

Swansea health board recently announced its plans to recruit 900 nurses from Kerala.

Lynne Jones, Swansea Bay’s Head of Nursing Education and Recruitment, has spent the last 21 years in nurse education and recruitment roles and has been pivotal in attracting overseas nurses to Swansea Bay.

She said: “Filling band five roles has been a big issue felt across Britain, but over the last few years we’ve made a huge effort to bridge the gap by attracting international nurses to our health board.

“We have invested in a dedicated training centre which includes two rooms designed like wards, two teaching rooms, a quiet study area and clinical skills room. That gives the nurses a fantastic platform for their OSCE training before going on to obtain their NMC registration.

“We are delighted to have been able to collaborate with Velindre and train their first ever cohort of international nurses.

“For us, I see it as a reminder of the excellent work put in by our health board and nurse education team over the last few years. It also shows how well we are regarded by our colleagues in Welsh health care.”

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