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Hospitals in journey round world to fill nursing jobs.

Birmingham hospitals are resorting to scouring the world for nurses because of a recruitment crisis.

About ten per cent of nurses' jobs are not filled in the region and the Queen Elizabeth and Selly Oak hospital trusts are recruiting from South Africa.

Union leaders claim the shortage shows a Government drive launched six months ago to encourage more people into the nursing profession has failed.

The crisis emerged as the Government yesterday announced pounds 3 million was being given to West Midland hospitals to tackle out-patient waiting lists.

The emergency cash was announced as new Health Department figures showed the number of people waiting for more than 13 weeks for an out-patient appointment has risen across England by 29,000 to 485,000.

Health Minister Mr John Denham said the rise in outpatient waiting lists was seasonal but said the West Midlands was entitled to pounds 3.1 million of pounds 30 million nationwide.

Shadow Health Secretary Dr Liam Fox said yesterday's waiting list figures were a disgrace and accused the Government of trying to hide them by releasing them on the same day as GCSE results.

The extra pounds 3 million in the West Midlands will be used to provide more out-patient clinics, employ new staff and invest in high-tech medical equipment.

Meanwhile, the Queen Elizabeth and Selly Oak hospitals have recruited 40 nurses from South Africa to fill 150 vacancies. Nurses have also been recruited from Trinidad, Canada and Australia.
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Author:Aitchison, Neil; Gray, Chris
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Aug 27, 1999
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