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Italy, Spain and Portugal are most targeted for nurse recruitment

The most targeted countries to fill the nursing shortage were Italy, Spain and Portugal in the last 12 months.

Due to a lack of UK nurses, more than 63% of Trusts - including mental health and community Trusts - have actively recruited from outside of the UK in the last twelve months.

NHS Employers surveyed 147 provider Trusts, to inform its response on the review which considers whether nursing should be kept on the shortage occupation list.

However, despite trying to recruit abroad, nearly seven out of ten recruitment campaigns targeted at European Economic Area (EEA) were unsuccessful at recruiting the number of appointments that were needed.

Last October, Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, stood up for nurses against the policy to deport non-EEA nurses who are earning less than £35,000 after six years. He said: “we need to better join up the dots on immigration policy and the NHS,” stating that the policy “clearly needs a rethink”.

Currently, one-in-ten nursing jobs are vacant, based on NHS Employers' new evidence, and this ranges regionally from 7% and 18%.

In order to keep their current workforce 91% of the surveyed trusts tried changing the working environment, 88% have tried employee relationship and employee development strategies, and 50% have tried compensating their nurses.