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New NHS consortium aims to help London recruit the best nurses

5 October 2020

A new consortium is being launched today across London to coordinate the recruitment of international nurses.

Part of the CapitalNurse programme, the service will provide NHS trusts with a single point of access  for recruiting overseas nurses, allowing them to source the very best staff from multiple countries and agencies at the same time, reducing costs while upholding ethical recruitment principles.

The CapitalNurse scheme, jointly led by NHS England and Improvement and Health Education England (HEE), was launched in 2015 to help ensure that London has the right number of nurses, with the right skills, in the right places.

The new consortium supports NHS England and NHS Improvement and HEE’s plans to increase ethical international recruitment and build partnerships with new countries, making sure the supplying country benefits from the arrangement as well as the individual health worker and the NHS.

This is the first time that London trusts have come together in this way to jointly procure and manage international recruitment.

Six overseas recruitment agencies have been awarded contracts to deliver the service. The agencies will recruit overseas nurses over a year in three waves, including recruiting from India, the Philippines and the rest of the world. A dedicated, senior contract manager has been recruited and will be hosted by the NHS London Procurement Partnership who have facilitated procurement for the consortium, to manage all aspects of contracts and recruitment on behalf of trusts using the service.

The programme is being serviced through a website and portal – https://www.capitalnurselondon.co.uk/. The website provides information for newly recruited overseas nurses or those looking to work in London, while a password protected portal will enable participating trusts to manage their recruitment pipeline and access resources.

This process ensures the consortium can recruit from more than one country and via more than one provider. Trusts will then benefit from the reduction in agency costs through economies of scale, greater global access to recruiting overseas nurses and a consistent flow of overseas nurses for their organisations.

Lizzie Smith, London Regional Director, Health Education England, said: 

One in three of London’s nurses are currently recruited from abroad. We expect this new service to boost nursing numbers, providing patients in London with high-quality, safe care.

This initiative ensures that overseas nurses are employed with a standardised offer through the CapitalNurse scheme, with the same financial support and pastoral care, and that ethical recruitment principles are aligned across all London trusts.

Duncan Burton, Director of International Nurse Recruitment for the NHS said: 

International recruitment is part of the NHS People Plan and will bring overseas nurses to London’s front line who help save countless lives. Trusts working together like this to ethically recruit from other countries and provide high quality pastoral support to nurses joining us from overseas will be a boost to nursing numbers right across capital.

Jane Clegg, Joint Regional Chief Nurse, NHS England and Improvement (London) said:

London is a world-class city to both train and work as a nurse, and we are so proud to be able to support international nursing talent to provide great care for Londoners.

This recruitment consortium is one of many initiatives we are putting in place to ensure the NHS in London is supported with the skilled and experienced nurses needed as we face the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nine early adopter London trusts are already participating in the project.

There are just under 9,000 nursing vacancies in London.