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Non-UK nurses stay longer and work more hours than domestic counterparts

Nurses from outside the UK or EU are more likely to remain in the NHS and in the same organisation than UK nurses. They also work more hours, analysis from the Nuffield Trust concluded.

Return on investment of overseas nurse recruitment finds that nurses from outside the UK or EU are more likely to remain in the NHS as a whole than nurses of UK nationality (93 per cent versus 90 per cent) and more likely to remain in the same organisation (89 per cent versus 84 per cent), based on data for the year to October 2019.  

Nurses with EU nationality work 93 per cent of a full-time contract, while nurses from outside the EU and the UK work 97 per cent, compared to 88 per cent for nurses with UK nationality. It is not clear whether higher participation is due to desire or lack of opportunity. 

The report notes that the considerable upfront costs in recruiting nurses from overseas (around £10,000 to £12,000) should be considered in the context of national funding to support such activities, and the longer-term or broader costs of alternative routes to increase nurse numbers, such as use of agency nurses or increasing domestic training numbers.

It concludes: “Overseas recruitment will have to be a major contributor if the goals on increasing nurse numbers are to be met in the short and medium term. In the long-term there is potential for international recruitment to return to lower levels, encouraging cultural exchange but not overreliance.”


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