A recruitment drive in The Philippines has boosted the numbers of nursing staff who will care for people across Wearside and South Tyneside.
South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust has made job offers to almost 140 highly-qualified nurses as a result of the efforts.
It is anticipated that the first of the new recruits will arrive later this year to start work in a wide range of medical and surgical departments at South Tyneside District Hospital, Sunderland Royal Hospital and Sunderland Eye Infirmary, and in the community in South Tyneside, Sunderland and Gateshead.
This was the fifth overseas recruitment campaign in The Philippines and the trust already has more than 200 nurses from there, many of whom now live as well as work in South Tyneside and Sunderland.
Many of those who applied during the latest visit were well advanced with the documentation required for working in the UK, which will enable them to join the trust more quickly than some previous recruits.
Melanie Johnson, executive director of nursing, midwifery and allied health professionals for South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The standard of the applicants was, as always, very high and we are very much looking forward to welcoming the new recruits over the coming months.
“They are joining us at a pivotal time for our local NHS.
"The new South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust was formed this month, on April 1.
"This, combined with the Path to Excellence programme of transformation of hospital services in South Tyneside and Sunderland to meet the future needs of patients and offer the best possible care, will present many more exciting opportunities to develop varied nursing careers with us.
“Our nurses do an amazing job 24/7 and we are committed to more investment in nursing to enable us to continue delivering the highest possible quality of safe patient care.
"Our aim is always to recruit the very best and ensure we have the right person with the right skills in the right place at the right time.
"Our overseas recruitment drives are essential to this process, along with our regular, local recruitment events where we draw on the rich seam of nursing talent in the North East.”
Among its many nursing recruitment initiatives, the Trust was instrumental in helping the University of Sunderland to establish its new nursing school, with the aim of encouraging local people to join the profession.
The first programme commenced in April 2016 and the first students graduated this month, having completed the three-year, BSc pre-registration adult nursing programme.
In the coming weeks, they will be joining the trust’s nursing teams working at South Tyneside District and Sunderland Royal hospitals.