Publish date: 11 February 2022

The Trust has recruited nurses from Lebanon as part of an ongoing programme to fill vacancies and offer a new life to people seeking refugee status.

Five trained nurses will be joining staff at Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS FT in April after a settling in programme organised by charities RefuAid and Talent Beyond Boundaries.

In the past two years, the Trust has successfully supported and recruited 65 international nurses from India, providing temporary accommodation, with an in-house training and support programme facilitating their transition to being registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council as a registered nurse. 

Chief Executive Karen James OBE says with nurse vacancies needing to be filled the recruitment programme is not only the smart thing to do but the right thing to do as it gives opportunity to refugees and forcibly displaced people in and out of the UK to leverage their own skills to secure their own futures.

She says; “We are excited to be working with these agencies who have a lot of experience working with refugees out of the UK, and exist to facilitate and overcome the barriers for refugees to have access to international work and migration opportunities. The Trust Board is fully supportive of this programme and believe that this will change the lives of these nurses, and the lives of their families.

“In Lebanon refugee nurses receive a salary of just $40 per month. They do not have unrestricted work rights. This means that they can only work in prescribed occupations - nursing being one - but once they secure employment, they cannot progress. Given the uncertainty of finding employment and a supportive employer, some candidates remain in the same role for many years. Working at our Trust they will have the opportunity to progress and realise their full potential.”

Over the next few years the NHS needs to recruit tens of thousands of international nurses. So getting refugees, often not able to use their qualifications, working again was an "absolute no-brainer", according to Steven Colfar, director of nursing for the North West at NHS England and NHS Improvement.

"We listened to the personal stories of the individual refugee nurses," said Mr Colfar. "As healthcare professionals they find it extremely difficult to restart their career.

"You land here, you have no support, often no money, no idea how to get registered and you're just trying to survive. It's so difficult to get into the NHS without some sort of structure to help you."

So, alongside Refuaid, Mr Colfar developed a course at Liverpool John Moores University designed to speed up the process of getting qualified refugee nurses back into hospitals again. It lasts four weeks and involves practical exercises in an NHS hospital simulation environment, lots of work on how to communicate with patients and help with the English language.

The five Lebanese nurses joining Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS FT will be part of this programme, and will be arriving in the UK in March.