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Wales to welcome 250 nurses and doctors from Kerala

NHS Wales is set to welcome 250 nurses and doctors from the Indian state of Kerala, following an agreement made between the two nations’ governments.

Last week, the Welsh health minister, Eluned Morgan, signed an agreement with the Government of Kerala to bring qualified healthcare professionals from India to work in NHS Wales.

“I have seen first-hand the tremendous impact these dedicated nurses, doctors and other health care staff have had on our health care services”

Eluned Morgan

However, nurse leaders have warned that international recruitment alone is not the solution to filling the growing number of registered nurse vacancies in Wales.

It comes as, last year, some 400 internationally educated nurses were recruited from overseas into NHS Wales, as part the country’s workforce implementation plan.

Now, a further cohort of internationally educated nurses, as well as medical staff, will be recruited this year.

Ms Morgan said: “Despite record number of nurses and other healthcare professionals in NHS Wales, the demand for health care workers globally has significantly increased.

“International recruitment, alongside our investment and commitment to home grown healthcare staff, is one of the ways we can fill the workforce gaps and rely less on agency staff.”

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Ms Morgan noted that Kerala had a “long history” of training healthcare professionals and supporting them to come to Wales.

She added: “I have seen first-hand the tremendous impact these dedicated nurses, doctors and other healthcare staff have had on our health care services and it was an honour to meet some of Wales’ future workforce as they prepare to come to Wales.”

Responding to the announcement, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) director for Wales, Helen Whyley, said: “Nursing is a global profession, and we look forward to welcoming these internationally recruited nurses to Wales and know that they will receive a warm welcome.

Helen Whyley

“The issue is the significant gap that we have in Wales for registered nurses, and we know that overseas recruitment is not, by itself, the solution to closing this gap.”

A report published last year by the RCN found that there were more than 2,700 registered nurse vacancies in the NHS in Wales.

Ms Whyley argued that Wales needed to ensure that all nurses who practise in the country “want to stay”, which included paying them what they deserve and “delivering the promises made in last year’s pay award”.

“In terms of our internationally recruited nurses, it is also key to ensuring they stay that they have opportunities to progress their careers, as many come to this country with a wealth of experience,” she added.

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