When our baby girl was born in Australia I was quite surprised by the number of english nurses and midwives working in our hospital.
Sure I expected to meet quite a few English staff as there a quite a few Poms living in the area anyway but at a guess I’d say over 85% of the nursing staff I met were of British origin.
It looks like this exodus is starting to have an effect to with the Royal College of Nursing warning that the UK may be on the verge of a nursing crisis as an unprecedented number of nurses migrate to Australia.
In 2007, a record 5,000 British nurses formally signalled an intention to take up work in Australian hospitals, having been lured by attractive offers and an unparalleled lifestyle.
Indeed, numbers of nurses making Australian visa applications have been so high that the RNC has highlighted the need for Britain to retain the nurses which it was producing.
Howard Catton, head of policy for the RNC, explained that he has met Australian employers who had come to the UK to recruit up to 60 nurses at a time, but who had in fact ended up making offers to twice that number.
Despite being wary of the record numbers of UK-trained nurses taking up employment in Australia, Mr. Catton admitted that he understood how attractive many of the offers were. He said:
â€œThe Australians have stepped up their recruitment activity on the basis of what they believe is unemployment and downsizing in the UK.
â€œThere is a belief that in the UK we don’t need the nurses we’ve got – but we know we do need them.
â€œThe Australian recruitment agencies that I’ve spoken to since I’ve been here are making very attractive offers.
â€œIt’s not just the starting salaries. The packages include air travel – for nurses’ families as well – relocation expenses, temporary accommodation and the promise that they’ll support an application for permanent residency.
â€œA couple of employers even offer a ‘meet and greet’ service at the airport with chauffeur-driven limousines, so the nurses are made to feel welcome as soon as their feet touch the ground.
â€œNurses have always historically left the UK and gone to Australia but the numbers have doubled recently.â€
I’d be interested to see if we have any British nurses visiting our site. If you are then perhaps give us your own view :)