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A Solution to the Nursing Shortage in the UK? International Mental Health Nurses

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Nurse Mental Health Blog

​Mental health nurses are currently in high demand in the UK due to a shortage of qualified mental health professionals. The NHS Long Term Plan, published in January 2019, identified mental health as a priority area, with plans to recruit more than 21,000 additional mental health professionals by 2023/24, including nurses.

Why are mental health nurses in short supply in the UK?

There are several reasons why mental health nurses are in short supply in the UK:

  • Low recruitment and retention: Mental health nursing is a challenging profession, and the recruitment and retention of nurses in this field has been an ongoing challenge. Many nurses are attracted to other areas of healthcare that are seen as more prestigious or offer better pay.

  • Aging workforce: Many mental health nurses in the UK are approaching retirement age, which is leading to a shortage of experienced nurses in the field.

  • Insufficient funding: Mental health services in the UK have historically received less funding than other areas of healthcare, which has resulted in limited resources, staffing shortages, and a lack of investment in mental health nurse training.

  • Stigma and lack of awareness: Mental health issues are often stigmatised, and there is a lack of awareness about the importance of mental health care. This has led to a lower demand for mental health services and a lack of interest in mental health nursing as a profession.

  • COVID-19 pandemic: The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand for mental health services in the UK, and mental health nurses have been at the forefront of providing care to patients. This has further exacerbated the shortage of mental health nurses in the UK.

How can international recruitment help?

Recruiting international mental health nurses can be one way to ease the shortfall of mental health nurses in the NHS. International recruitment can bring a pool of talented and experienced mental health nurses who may have skills and experience that are not readily available in the UK. Here are some ways in which recruitment of international mental health nurses can help ease the shortfall in the NHS:

  • Increased supply: Recruiting international mental health nurses can increase the number of qualified nurses available to work in the NHS, filling vacant positions and reducing the workload on existing nurses.

  • Diversity: International recruitment can help to diversify the NHS workforce, bringing in nurses from different cultures and backgrounds, and enhancing the quality of care provided to patients from diverse backgrounds.

  • Skills and experience: International mental health nurses may have skills and experience that are not readily available in the UK. This can help to improve the quality of care provided and enhance the knowledge and skills of existing mental health nurses in the NHS.

  • Retention: Recruiting international mental health nurses can help to address the retention issue in the NHS, as they are likely to be committed to working in the UK for an extended period.


However, it is important to ensure that international recruitment is carried out ethically and sustainably, and that nurses are properly supported in their transition to the UK healthcare system. This includes providing adequate training and support, cultural sensitivity, and ensuring that they are treated fairly and equitably.

NursingjobsUK have helped many NHS hospitals with time bound and cost-effective recruitment projects. Having successfully placed Speciality Nurses including Mental Health nurses across the UK we have a proven track record in recruiting international nurses and other healthcare professionals. Working in partnership with the NHS Trust we will manage the end-to-end recruitment process.

Nursingjobs UK adheres to the Department of Health Code of Practice on the recruitment of nurses and midwives. We are an awarded supplier for International Recruitment of Clinical healthcare Professionals for NHS Procurement in Partnership and Crown Commercial Service. This means we meet government requirements on good industry practice.

Contact us today if you have an international recruitment project you would like help with.


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