The national nursing challenge remains the highest staffing priority for the NHS.

The only overall solution to reducing temporary staff spending and maintaining world-class clinical care is recruitment of full-time, permanent staff of every type from both home and overseas.

The Interim People Plan 2019 has set out the major actions to address urgent shortages in nursing; including increased entry-level recruitment, retention of current qualified staff, smoothing the path for returnees to nursing coupled with ensuring that those who start training for the caring professions see it through to qualification; In short - Recruit, Retain, Return, Qualify.

Read the Interim People Plan in full here

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The process for recruiting overseas nurses into to NHS is well established. However, many Trusts are still not taking advantage of this pool of excellent clinicians. For each individual Nurse the process is new and unfamiliar and despite it being well-trodden it will be a new and unsettling experience for them personally; needing careful pastoral support.

The major benefit that overseas nurses deliver is FTE B5 staff in a very short time frame, who can also work as B3/4  whilst preparing for the OSCE. This approach will improve:

  • Reduced B&A spend. Immediately drives down temporary staffing spend on a permanent basis

  • Workforce planning. Increases staff ratios to correct levels

  • Care quality. Improves patient care and continuity of ops in a hospital setting

  • Return on investment. Return savings in the first 6 months even after all costs of recruitment and training are netted off.

How The Workforce Partnership will help you realise these benefits

The Workforce Partnership will work closely with you to drive down your Nursing vacancies and improve workforce costs. Put simply we will;

Partner - Support you to fill your most pressing nursing vacancies at pace and scale


Recruit - Find and prepare cohorts of qualified overseas nurses to pass all tests towards an NMC PIN


Inform - Provide real time updates and progress tracking on the cohorts of nurses to be accountable to  your workforce teams and exec boards

Deliver savings - Calculate the financial benefit to the Trust in reduced agency spend and give a clear metric of the expected savings per nurse

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Overseas recruitment can be unnecessarily expensive and unclear- The Workforce Partnership deals with all the costs and fees in a clear and accountable way at a market beating rate

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All professional exam/test charges

•Computer Based Test (CBT) for clinical knowledge (MNC Part 1)

•IELTS (language test)

•OET (language test alternative to IELTS)

•OSCE fee in UK




•UK accommodation and subsistence (1st week)

•All UK travel and transfers

•Intro to UK package to smooth integration

•Pastoral care and buddy system throughout the OSCE training period


In home country of origin

•Individual travel and subsistence costs for interviews

•All flights

•Accommodation for 1 month during pre-training and interview period

•Personal screening medical - Hep A,B,C, HIV, TB and Covid-19

•Training material and teaching staff access

•Trust’s interview visit costs for NHS staff (flights, hotel, subsistence)

•Pastoral care and UK preparation package

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Find advice on costs from nhs-employers on the NHS International Recruitment Toolkit. The Workforce Partnership will beat any like for like costing to recruit cohorts of overseas Nurses.

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Across the 1.2m national NHS posts there are c.100,000 total vacancies (8%)

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43,000 of these vacancies are Registered Nurse posts. 13% of the total Nursing workforce

The number of vacancies is rising every year, the NHS is being forced to use costly and unsustainable agency workers to maintain quality of patient care.

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The additional cost of agency use is estimated at £1.5 Billion above employing the same FTE Nurses.

The Covid-19 crisis has placed additional pressure on the workforce and created an enduring problem as elective and non-urgent procedures are postponed. 2 million operations have been cancelled or postponed

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BREXIT has undermined the position of EU based workers 8'800 EU healthcare professionals have left the UK since the BREXIT vote of 2016

The scale of the problem - why RN vacancy and agency staffing is damaging patient care and hospital finances

Impact of vacant Registered nurse posts on Trusts and care systems:


Immediate financial -  Increased spend on replacement agency workers

Immediate operational -  Lack of continuity in workforce

Strategic -  Difficulty conducting effective workforce planning

Strategic - Failure to meet obligations under the Interim NHS People Plan

Regulatory - Inability to meet national agency reduction targets

Clinical -  Increased threat to care standards

Clinical -  Added pressure to other clinicians and carers