news

Foreign nurses 'abused by patients and their families'

Huddersfield and Halifax hospitals reveal issue with overseas staff in the wake of Brexit vote

Huddersfield Royal Infirmary: Foreign nurses have been targeted for abuse by foul mouthed patients(Image: Huddersfield Examiner)

Foul mouthed patients and their families have been targeting foreign nurses for abuse.

Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust has been forced to recruit dozens of nurses from overseas in recent years, including Spain, Italy and the Philippines, amid a chronic shortage of local applicants.

But international staff recruited to work at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and Calderdale Royal Hospital have complained they have been abused.

The trust has been unable to give the Examiner details of how many incidents there have been or if the abuse included physical attacks.

Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust has been forced to recruit dozens of nurses from overseas in recent years, including Spain, Italy and the Philippines.(Image: PA)

It has also not been able to say if the abuse is xenophobic, if nurses from any particular nation have been the focus of the abuse, or if the complaints are about racism.

Chief nurse Brendan Brown said: “It is important that our staff can deliver care to our patients in an environment which is free from any sort of abuse – physical or verbal.

“We encourage all of our staff – including our international colleagues – to report any incident either directly to us or through NHS Protect so that we take appropriate action.”

A report to the hospitals’ board of directors reveals the abuse has been an issue since the start of the year.

The September meeting of the board agreed that this would not be tolerated.

The Executive Director of Workforce and Organisational Development said a system would be put in place to safeguard against this via NHS Protect – the NHS’s own division to combat crime.

Following the Brexit vote in June 2016, a number of reports emerged across the country of EU nurses suffering racist abuse, prompting them to quit their posts and head home.

Last July, England’s chief inspector of hospitals warned of a Brexit “threat” to crucial staffing in the NHS and care homes.

Professor Sir Mike Richards raised the alarm over the NHS struggling to recruit enough nurses, doctors and other health professionals from the EU and other countries if Britain imposes an immigration clampdown.

View full mobile page