A massive recruitment of 202 Filipino nurses for a National Health Service hospital in the United Kingdom has hit a snag after 52 of the 59 members of the first wave of the nurses coming to UK failed an English language test.
The nurses were offered jobs at the Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham, Kent, after bosses flew over to Manila in April this year in a bid to fill some of the 394 full-time nursing vacancies at the hospital.
Only seven of the nurses – just 12 per cent – passed the test which allows them to start work later this year.
The recruitment drive was initiated after the hospital struggled to fill its vacancies. Many of the vacant slots were filled in by costly agency staff, with temporary workers racking up more than 100,000 hours in December 2016 alone.
Nurses recruited from outside of the EU are required to take an English test by the Nursing and Midwifery council to ensure their understanding of the language is of a suitable level. Test includes oral, reading, writing and listening test where they must gain a pass mark of just under 80 per cent – something which hospital chiefs have criticised for being too stringent.
James Devine, executive director for Human Resources at the Medway NHS Foundation Trust, told the Medway Messenger newspaper: ‘We are committed to employing the best of people at our hospital to provide the best of care to our patients.
‘Our nurse recruitment plans continue to attract and recruit nurses from the UK, the EU and internationally and, as part of our own selection process, we ensure that candidates are able to communicate effectively with patients and each other.’