Praise for Filipinos and sympathy for trainee nurses - readers react to nursing recruitment drive in the Philippines
Filipino nurses are set to get a warm welcome in Sunderland and South Tyneside - but meanwhile there are fears over the plight of British health workers.
The news attracted a range of comments on our Facebook pages, but most were strongly in favour of bringing in Filipino nurses - and many had their own positive experiences of working with, or being treated by, workers from the Southeast Asian islands nation.
Haydn Hamm said: "I've worked with dozens of Filipinos - they have all been excellent. Well trained, compassionate and thoughtful. If we had more Brits with these qualities... especially in Government."
Kathy Winston Cobb said: "We had Filipino nurses when my husband was dying, they were so lovely could not have had better."
Wendy Munro said: "I've been in Sunderland hospital twice since September, this week from an operation and I have to say both times the Filipino nurses were excellent."
Rachel Revill said: "I’ve worked with many nurses and Filipino are hands down the most kind and caring. When they train back home their training is much more advanced than ours, therefore more experienced in different areas."
However, there were those who were concerned that the jobs should be going to British workers.
Chris Wilson said: "Why not give British students a chance and instead of making them pay for their own education actually give some people who can't afford it the chance to become nurses and doctors?
"It's so easy to go abroad isn't it and leave your own people unemployed and grab some cheap labour instead of training people who are already here."
Mark Beadle said: "I’ve no objection to Filipino nurses or any other foreign health workers but I do believe by taking these people from their homeland you’re creating a bigger problem for the future, healthcare workers are still needed in their homelands and if conditions, the economy and life expectancy takes a hit as a result I’m sure you’ll see more impoverishment."
Others pointed out that there was a shortage of British nurses, which is why the NHS needed to look elsewhere. But there was agreement among many that more needed to be done to help those from the UK who wanted to work in nursing.
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Philip Hills said: "It takes best part of seven years to train mate, even then people aren’t wanting to work for the NHS because the pay is stagnated and the cost of living is rising.
"They’ve also cut the bursaries so student nurses have to try and find the time to study full time whilst working enough to pay their bills."
Some trainee nurses and would-be health workers also chipped in with their stories.
Jamielea Campbell said: "I am a first year nursing student and by the time i qualify i will have Â£27,750 tuition fee debt alone. I work on the wards 50% of my course, 40 hours per week for free - well, if you look at it another way, I pay them for me to work.
"It's extremely hard and the work load is crazy with the added pressure of money on top."
Laura Bainbridge I'm soon to become a nursing student and the thought of the debt I am going to be left with is very daunting. Why not lower the price of the courses and make it more manageable to be able to live off student loans/bursary. They need to encourage more people to choose this profession. I will be in nearly Â£60,000 worth of debt by the time i have finished my degree
Kay Davies responded by saying: "It breaks my heart we are loosing good nurses because, quite frankly, who can afford to do this? It is soul destroying for you guys
"Just please don't give up we need amazing people who can endure the above (not that you should have to the training is hard enough without the added money worries)."
Jacqui Marshall added: "Bring back Nurse Cadets nothing against Filipino Nurses BUT !!!!Even now it is very difficult to understand the Foreign nurses English (not all the Nurses isn't very good at all which Sometimes can cause Communication Barriers !!"
Jo Lawrence Bloody left a long comment giving her take on the situation.
"Bloody immigrants, coming here and saving our NHS," she said. We will always be dependent on immigration until there is a return to nurse training in its original format, paying a higher training bursary, giving nurses better working conditions and a higher salary that values their dedication and expertise."There is already a drive to recruit nurses and midwives, it’s insufficient to replace those that are leaving because of intolerable working conditions. That won’t change until the Tories are out of power."It was only last year May gave all immigrants five years to either leave or find a job with a salary of over Â£34,000 a year. What nurse earns that?? So yet again, another huge policy failure made to keep those moaning about ‘scrounging immigrants stealing our jobs’ happy."