Trust fills nurse vacancies with skilled refugee staff

Whipps Cross University NHS Trust Hospital is working on a project to help
refugee nurses become eligible to work in the UK’s health service.

The Refugee Health Professional Project aims to tackle skills shortages by increasing
the number of refugees with the right healthcare qualifications to be employed
by the NHS.

The trust is offering refugee nurses three-month placements as healthcare
support workers in order to show them how the NHS operates.

Jenny Southam, HR director at Whipps Cross, in East London, said,
"Those refugees who purely want work experience will be given these
placements. We have ring-fenced three posts for the refugee nurses."

Another route gives refugee nurses the chance to undergo a longer period of
supervised practice placement, which is needed to register with the UK Central
Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting to practise as a nurse in
the UK.

Southam said, "The refugees will be given the appropriate level of
supervision and have assigned study days on nursing issues.

"We will also offer them English language courses."

She said the project would help qualified refugee nurses get back to work in
their profession and boost the health service.

"It’s twofold – to support the local community and to support those
refugees who wish to return to their profession," she said.

By Karen Higginbottom

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