Bury St Edmunds: West Suffolk Hospital’s new batch of Portuguese nurses after overseas recruitment

Jon Vale West Suffolk reporter jon.vale@archant.co.uk
Thursday, July 31, 2014
9:55 AM

Another wave of Portuguese nurses will soon be arriving at West Suffolk Hospital after its latest overseas recruitment drive.

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The hospital has offered positions to 23 registered nurses following the its efforts in Porto earlier this year.

The recruits will join 62 other Portuguese staff who started working at the hospital last year.

The new arrivals, who are due to start in October, will work across all areas of the hospital and will be used to replace bank and agency nurses, fill existing vacancies and help staff additional capacity which may be needed at times of high demand. Jan Bloomfield, executive director of workforce and communications at West Suffolk Hospital, said: “We are really pleased to have recruited additional staff from Portugal, and look forward to welcoming them to the hospital in October.

“They will join our existing cohort of high calibre nurses who started at the hospital last year, who all settled in brilliantly and are enjoying working at West Suffolk.

“In Portugal, nurses complete a four-year degree course, with the final nine months spent working in an acute hospital.

“They have excellent communication skills and particular expertise in the care of older people, 
which is ideal for the population we serve.”

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust employs around 1,000 nursing staff, 60% of which are registered nurses.

A hospital spokeswoman said the degree courses which Portuguese nurses complete are very similar to the one completed in Britain, which makes it easier to register the nurses with the Nursing and Midwifery Council. She added that there is also a surplus of registered nurses in Portugal, which means West Suffolk is not depriving another healthcare system of nurses.

In June, around 80% of all shifts across the hospital were staffed with the correct nursing levels.

A report to Friday’s board of directors meeting also said that some wards were repeatedly not meeting the recommended staff to patients ratio, although measures have been taken to improve their performance.

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