Workforce Recovery – International Recruitment

The NHS workforce is growing, but not fast enough to keep up with demand, which has increased considerably over the last few years, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the NHS is using differing strategies to address this demand, the problem has not diminished.  

According to research by The King’s Fund, the pandemic has highlighted how NHS staff are continuing to work under enormous strain because of workforce shortages.  

As you will be aware, the NHS Long Term Plan has identified ethical international recruitment as a workforce priority, and it will continue to be an essential part of support for the health service to help relieve this demand. The NHS has long benefitted from overseas recruitment, making the workforce as diverse as the communities they care for.  

Helen Lynch, Director of Workforce and Category Development and the lead procurement partner for the NHS Workforce Alliance International Recruitment Framework said:  

“The last two years have been incredibly difficult for our frontline NHS colleagues and our NHS Workforce Alliance teams have done their utmost to ensure we supported (and continue to support) our colleagues and suppliers through these demanding times; from keeping you up to date with changing guidance from government departments and the NHS, through to ongoing management of the supply base and supporting trusts through the international recruitment process. 

As well as ensuring we keep our customers up to date with information from various Government Agencies, we are actively supporting trusts to see international recruitment as a viable option.”

With the impact of both Brexit and COVID-19 on recruitment, many of our colleagues are turning to international recruitment to ensure they have the staffing levels to maintain continuity of service, and the NHS needs to be first in line for this.  

There are many things to consider when thinking about international recruitment and the benefits to your organisation. The NHS Workforce Alliance continually works hard to ensure all suppliers awarded to our framework are committed to ethical recruitment practices, (in accordance with NHS Employers Code of Practice) visibility of the supply chain and complying with all necessary legislation around modern slavery and social value. 

Helen added: 

“We know that when considering international recruitment that the NHS strives to have the right support systems in place for staff when they do arrive; pastoral care is a key component of ensuring new colleagues from other countries can settle into their roles and become familiar with their new working and living environment and we ensure the suppliers can provide this service as well as recruitment and placement.”  

We are now busy working on the next iteration of our International Recruitment offering, which is due to go live in March 2023. To help shape the agreement, we are organising an engagement programme for customers and suppliers. So, please come along to our sessions with your colleagues to share your experiences of international recruitment with us and find out how the new framework could support you better.  

The engagement sessions can be personalised 1-2-1 or collective group forums. These sessions will be up to 45 minutes and will consist of open discussion and questions forums, focusing on the scope of the current framework, the areas you like about it and what you would like to see changed or added so that the framework can support and benefit you at any point throughout your recruitment journey and beyond. 

If you have any questions, you would like to be part of our engagement programme or wish to complete a brief survey, please get in touch with the team.  

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