Weston General Hospital looking to Spain and Portugal as it bids to recruit 50 new nurses

PUBLISHED: 11:55 30 August 2017

Some of the Spanish nurses Weston General Hospital recruited in 2013.

Some of the Spanish nurses Weston General Hospital recruited in 2013.

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Many might dream of trading in their Weston-super-Mare home for a villa abroad, but the town’s hospital is hoping some Spanish and Portuguese nurses will do just the opposite.

Weston General Hospital is using specialist recruiters to try to attract nurses from abroad to join its ranks in an effort to solve some of its recruitment issues.

A hospital spokesman told the Mercury: “We have a registered nurse recruitment campaign seeking to recruit nurses from the UK and overseas.

“We are seeking to appoint up to 50 registered nurses. We have a number of initiatives in place to drive the fulfilment of as many of our vacancies as possible using nurses from the UK.”

The Trust is working with Cpl Healthcare to advertise in Spain and Portugal, and it is hoping to host Skype interviews with applicants in September. It will offer successful recruits a starting salary of £22,128, plus offered two months’ free accommodation.

A hospital spokesman said: “Accommodation is offered to overseas staff in a ‘block recruitment campaign’ when we recruit more than one individual on a house-share basis.

“This means they are able to settle into the country and Weston quickly with people who have a common interest and background.”

The accommodation is mostly at the hospital itself. The nurses will be tied into a two-year contract and if they leave before then, they must pay back the housing costs.

The spokesman also said the Trust can offer free accommodation or allowances to doctors and nurses relocating from elsewhere in the UK.

It is not the first time the hospital has looked abroad to find staff. In 2013, Weston General Hospital hired 44 nurses from Spain.

The spokesman said: “It’s almost four years ago, so we’ll have some nurses still, but others will have moved on.”

One of the nurses who remains in Weston is Nerea Diaz. She said: “This was a chance to develop my career and nursing skills.

“We also have a free NHS in Spain, but there are differences. In Spain, you have more patients to look after.

“In the NHS here you spend more time with patients and there’s more focus on dignity and comfort. You have much more time to take care of all the needs of the patient, and not just their clinical health.”

MORE: Recruitment crisis at Weston General as it spends close to £6million on temporary doctors.

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