Published: 10:48, 12 June 2018
Around 200 nurses from the Philippines are in talks about joining a hospital due to a staffing crisis.
This comes as a cost cutting measure to reduce the reliance on expensive temporary and agency workers.
In all, 193 Filipino nurses started the recruitment process for Medway Maritime Hospital in January.
An additional 170 international nurses are set to join this financial year.
Medway Foundation Trust has reduced agency pay by £23 million to date – a fall of 11 per cent.
Cllr Dan Daley (Lib Dem) said: “We all know that nurses are very important people in the hospital.
“I look at the way [Medway Foundation Trust] are having to recruit nurses such as having to go a long way away.
“What worries me is that these people seem to be able to be lost from their home environment where we are struggling to find nurses home-trained.”
At the Kent County Council health overview scrutiny committee meeting on Friday, Medway Foundation Trust chief executive Lesley Dwyer said: “When Medway was known as the troubled trust in special measures, recruitment was quite difficult.
“We had vacancy rates, in some areas, of over 60% and the emergency department was one of those.
“We have had an overseas recruitment strategy in place, not only in the Philippines but also in Europe.
“This is something that we have been successful with particularly because of the packages that we have to integrate them into the community.
“In the Philippines they over produce nurses and they do that knowing that many of them will go overseas.
“We do ask ourselves, are we doing the right thing by going into countries that may have a shortage themselves, but there is good evidence that this is not the case.”
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