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Sustaining and expanding international recruitment for an integrated care system

Sustaining and expanding international recruitment for an integrated care system

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Our Workforce Planning and Transformation team’s efforts secured a three-year investment for the International Recruitment Workforce Bureau, enabling the recruitment of 630 international healthcare professionals in 2023/24 and significantly reducing vacancies across the Integrated Care System.

Background

In January 2022, an integrated care system (ICS) established a collaborative International Recruitment Workforce Bureau (IRWB) with dedicated resources and expertise to undertake an ambitious international recruitment programme for nurses and midwives across all NHS employers. Recently, the IRWB has expanded its focus to include recruiting allied health professionals, such as diagnostic radiographers, occupational therapists, dieticians, and physiotherapists. To sustain this large-scale international recruitment effort, the IRWB seeks financial investment for the next three financial years (2023/24-2025/26).

Action

NHS Midlands and Lancashire’s Workforce Planning and Transformation team collaborated with the ICS and the lead employer for the IRWB to compile and analyse international recruitment activities over the past two years, showcasing the model’s success. Using the ICS’s workforce data, we demonstrated the continued demand for the IRWB’s services to reduce vacancies and reliance on bank and agency staff for nurses, midwives, and allied health professionals. We also gathered projected recruitment needs from NHS employers for the next 12 months.

We developed a comprehensive business case that included:

– A detailed case for change and benefits analysis, articulating potential risks.

– An options appraisal presenting four potential pathways:

  1. Do nothing.

  2. Do minimum, continue as is.

  3. Do minimum, continue as is with an enhanced offer.

  4. Do most, with extensive enhancements.

– A recommendation for option 3, advocating for continuation with enhancements.

Impact

The international recruitment programme was designed in collaboration with the ICS’s people and nursing leads, and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust, the lead employer for the IRWB. The business case received approval from Nikki Brockie, Chief Nurse at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and was presented to the ICS investment committee.

The ICS investment committee approved a three-year investment in the IRWB based on option 2, to continue as is. The IRWB aims to recruit at least 630 international professionals in 2023/24, with potential for further expansion in quarter 4 based on demand. The recruitment efforts are expected to significantly reduce the current 1,835 nursing and midwife vacancies and 101 allied health professional vacancies across the system, benefiting all providers within the ICS.

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