30 / 01 / 2009
NHS South West
This is the story told by one of the recruitment and retention leads within Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire SHA.
The recruitment process started in December 2004. I gave a presentation in Poland to interested candidates explaining about our vacancies and working and living in England. After a short listing process the candidates were then invited to the UK for interviews in January 2005.
The candidates stayed in Bristol for three days and were given the opportunity to visit each of the practices and meet the staff there. After this they had a formal interview to assess their clinical and communication skills as well as their ability to adapt to new ways of working and living in England. Before taking up their posts, successful candidates attended a comprehensive eight week induction programme in Poland which concentrated particularly on developing their communication skills.
The first eight dentists started work in May 2005 and we have all been impressed and pleased by their enthusiasm and adaptability to living and working in England. One of the earliest recruits has recently described the experience as "the happiest I have been since I first qualified 20 years ago, I enjoy my work and new life in England so much."
Within the current climate where the NHS encourages patient feedback and involvement, it is good to hear that a Gloucestershire PCT receive several calls from patients commenting on the new Polish dentist working in their surgery. Patients were impressed at how caring, pleasant and efficient she was.
So what have we learned from this experience? We have learned it is important to have a comprehensive induction programme and support when international recruits first arrive in England.
Would we do it again?
Although the process was often complex and time consuming the outcome has been very positive and we eagerly look forward to the next group of Polish recruits.