Fifty-nine Philippines nurses have applied for full-time positions at the Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham, Kent in the United Kingdom, where healthcare staff is in severe shortage. One of the major requirements is passing an English language test, which unfortunately remains a stumbling block for local nurses.

The results - only seven out of the 59 - hurdled the required English test. Eighty-eight percent of the first wave exam takers flunked the all-important language requirement.

Te English test is required by the United Kingdom Nursing and Midwifery Council to ensure the English language level of each applicant is suitable, particularly among those not from the European Union.

Medway Maritime Hospital is operated by the NHS Foundation Trust, and has an opening for at least 394 full-time positions.

To illustrate the need, temporary staff in the hospital clocked in more than 100,000 hours in December 2016 to fill the service gap.

With 202 Philippine nurse applicants, more than half of the positions are expected to be filled by local nurses. Successful hires are entitled to a recruitment and retention bonus paid over 26 months, and a relocation loan will be paid. They will also enjoy flexible working hours.

The English test was divided into an oral, listening, writing and speaking parts, and of the 59 that first took it, only seven passed.

The required score was criticised as being too “stringent” as takers need to score a little just below 80 percent to pass, according to the Daily Mail.

Medway NHS Human Resources Executive Director James Devine, meanwhile, said that majority of the nurses are still involved in the programme.

The Philippine Star noted that some of the nurses who failed plan a retake.

Philippine Secretary of Health Paulyn Ubial , when asked, suggested that the Commision on Higher Education (CHED) and the Department of Education (DepEd) should jointly address the issue within the nursing curriculum.

Although she did say that the Department of Health (DOH) itself has difficulty hiring nurses for government hospital because only a few can express themselves well. MIMS

Read more:

Employment opportunities in Germany for Filipino nurses Part 1
Employment opportunities in Germany for Filipino nurses Part 2