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NHS trusts have spent over £3million on over 750 paid overseas recruitment trips

By on February 5, 2022 0

In contrast, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Kings Lynn NHS Foundation Trust, spent just £126 per recruit. The Trust sent four staff to the Philippines for four days in 2019 but managed to recruit 80 new entrants with recruitment costs of £10,040.

And the Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust recruited 252 nurses over six trips, with costs amounting to £252 per new starter.

Typically, NHS trusts sent teams of four on overseas trips.

But Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust sent five staff and four agency workers in a single expedition to Mumbai, India, which ended up recruiting just 14 junior and senior doctors. The Trust said it could not determine how much it cost.

In 2019, NHS officials set a target of recruiting 5,000 foreign nurses a year until 2024. Later that same year, the Tory Manifesto pledged to recruit a further 50,000 nurses in total.

But the latest figures show a shortage of almost 40,000 nurses and almost 100,000 vacancies in the NHS in total.

“Huge disparities in spending on recruitment abroad”

Duncan Simpson, director of research at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, which made the FOI claims, said: “These figures raise questions about the huge disparities in spending on overseas recruitment.

“Taxpayers pay huge sums for comprehensive health care and expect to get the vital services they need, without funding expensive excursions.

“Trusts need to make sure they get what they pay for, especially when it comes to overseas travel for NHS staff.”

An NHS spokesperson said: ‘International recruits have always been an invaluable part of the NHS workforce. However, we expect individual trusts to recruit on a cost-effective basis.’

None of the NHS trusts with the highest spend per recruit responded to requests for comment.

Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust said the 2018 trip reduced the need for agency staff and associated costs.

Royal United Hospitals Bath Foundation NHS Trust said: “Filling nursing vacancies is a shared challenge across the NHS, and international recruitment is just one important part of the RUH’s overall recruitment strategy. “

South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said its last overseas recruitment visit was five years ago.