Up to 80 new nurses from overseas will soon be walking the wards at Lynn’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital after visa restrictions have been lifted.
The hospital has recruited nurses from India and the Philippines but there has been a delay in getting them over due to visas.
Home secretary Theresa May has stepped in to have nurses listed on the Government’s shortage occupation list which will prioritise applications ahead of the winter when hospitals will be pushed to the limit.
Hospital chief executive Dorothy Hosein is delighted the restrictions have been eased and is looking forward to welcoming the nurses over as soon as possible.
Earlier today (Friday, October 16) she said: “This is wonderful news for the hospital.
“Indian and Philippino nurses are well trained and we ill very welcome.
“We have been out there, we have recruited them but without a visa we couldn’t progress.
“We now have to work really quickly. We have told them and are going to pick it up with momentum. We have to register them but at least there is hope.”
Nationally there is reported to be a shortage of 15,000 to 20,000 nurses.
But leading figures in the NHS had warned the Government that immigration rules were preventing them from bringing over more nurses from outside the European Union.
The Government has also lifted further restrictions which force nurses earning less than £35,000 to leave the country after five years.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “Safe staffing across all our hospitals and care homes is a crucial priority.
“The temporary changes announced today will ensure the NHS has the nurses it needs to deliver the highest standards of care without having to rely on rip-off staffing agencies that cost the taxpayer billions of pounds a year.”
The hospital has now launched a new campaign focusing on the beautiful West Norfolk Coastline in a bid to draw more midwives and registered nurses from the big cities.
Pictures of the tide coming in at Brancaster with the strapline “Ward to Waves in 25 minutes” will be appearing in adverts in newspapers across London as well as online.
Chief-executive Dorothy Hosein said: “We want to attract people out of the bigger cities up to the beautiful Norfolk coastline.”
The hospital’s numbers have been boosted by 101 foreign nurses over the last two years.
During that time, only 11 nurses have left the hospital.
A recruitment event for registered nurses and midwives will be held at the hospital on Wednesday next week.
Nurses who are looking for a change or registered overseas are welcome to attend.
Anyone interested in attending the event should visit www.qehkl.nhs.uk or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively call 01553 613582 or more information on this event.