Indian nurses hired for Oxfordshire as EU numbers fall

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image captionOxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust runs the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford

Nurses are being recruited in India to work in Oxfordshire hospitals after a fall in applications from EU nationals.

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH) said the "marked reduction" made it "more important" to search further afield.

It comes as a report shows staff shortages led to bed closures at three of the trust's sites this year.

OUH said it was continuing its efforts to ensure it had enough nurses.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council said nationally the number of nurses from the EU joining the profession dropped by 89% this year.

Recruitment difficulties were recently highlighted by the Nursing and Midwifery Council which said it was now harder for all hospitals, partly as fewer EU nurses wanted to work in the UK.

In response the government said the number of training places for nurses was being increased by 25%.

The nurses due to arrive in Oxford were hired by a team led by OUH's associate chief nurse, Andrew Carter, which spent a week in Delhi, Mumbai and Cochin interviewing candidates.

'Unplanned' bed closures

He said conditional job offers were given to 175 nurses who were now applying to practise in England, and further a recruitment drive was planned for the Philippines next month.

Temporarily bed closures have been required at the John Radcliffe and Churchill Hospitals and at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre because of the trust's staffing problems.

Operating theatre sessions have also been lost due to a shortage of theatre nurses, adding to waiting list pressures.

The problems are detailed in a report on performance which will be discussed by the trust's board on Wednesday.

The update also addressed A&E waiting times; highlighting three occasions when a patient waited on a trolley for longer than 12 hours in September.

It said the incidents had been reported to the regulator NHS Improvement.

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