Northern Ireland – part of the United Kingdom - is looking to recruit nurses from the Philippines by 2020 in the hopes of alleviating the nursing shortage in the region.

Shortage was attributed to two factors: an ageing workforce and undergraduate recruitment unable to keep up with the demand, according to Northern Ireland’s chief nursing officer Charlotte McArdle.

"The answer for us is to grow our own workforce,” McArdle notes. “We can't be reliant on other places to do that for us. The overseas programme is an interim step to help balance things while we get to the other side.

"We have a history with the Philippines, and to a lesser extent India, from the last shortage around 2000," said McArdle.

Currently, there are about 1,500 vacant nursing posts in Northern Ireland.

"This year is going to be difficult in terms of nurse recruitment, but hopefully from then on we will start to see light at the end of the tunnel," McArdle adds.

Aside from overseas recruitment, Northern Ireland also introduced the ‘Return to Practice’ programme, which aims to encourage out-of-practice nurses to return to their profession.

Northern Ireland adds up to the long list of countries that have expressed their intent to hire nurses from the Philippines. These countries include Japan, New Zealand, Australia, as well as England-based hospitals Yeovil District Hospital and the Royal Bolton Hospital. MIMS

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