From NI to Mumbai: International Recruitment at Southern Health and Social Care Trust

Earlier this year, Remedium hosted an international recruitment drive with Southern Health and Social Care Trust. Read more about the trip from Zoe Parks, Head of Medical HR.

International Recruitment at Southern Health and Social Care Trust

Like many Trusts, we face the perennial challenge of recruiting and retaining healthcare professionals. Coming out of a worldwide pandemic, it became more apparent than ever that in order to help and retain our doctors, we needed to act fast. Our teams needed support; they needed stability and growth across their rotas.

Traditional recruitment methods have long been the bedrock of talent acquisition, but in recent years, many Trusts have been exploring innovative avenues to tap into global talent. Our previous attempts at international recruitment using traditional methods had not been overly successful.  It was time to try something new. Prompted by some early success in our Radiology Department, we quickly put together the necessary business proposals and established strong partnership working with our contracts, finance and planning colleagues.  This allowed us to get all our plans in place and confirm our trip within a few months. Fully endorsed by our senior leadership team, I travelled with a group of six experienced doctors to Mumbai, India in September this year.  Having the opportunity to meet doctors in their home country, to take the time to understand their hospital systems and experience their culture, was invaluable.

With a target of over 50 posts in our first phase across many specialties including Anaesthetics, ED, ENT, Elderly Care, General Medicine, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Radiology, Surgery and Urology, we interviewed over 100 doctors in 4 days and recruited over 70 of the best, to join our teams.

Northern Ireland is not on most Indian doctors’ minds when they think of the UK. However having the opportunity to confirm that we are indeed part of the NHS – the beautiful Emerald Isle certainly caught their attention. I was blown away by their hospitable personalities and their infectious excitement about joining our teams. It was incredibly humbling to hear how many had travelled the length and breadth of India (and beyond!) to come and see us. Many told me how they had been researching Northern Ireland already with one doctor quick to ask why my annunciation was not as strong as that in “Derry girls” – as he had started watching to make sure he could understand our accents!

From NI to Mumbai

The team was exceptionally impressed with the quality of many of the candidates.  Our partnership with Remedium helped create a good understanding of specific requirements across our specialties before our trip, allowing applicants to be pre-screened for interview.  This meant our panels could really focus in on assessing clinical skills and experience, to find the best fit for our positions.

It is clear to me that given the ongoing challenges, ethical international medical recruitment is an essential strategy for bolstering our NHS workforce. The infusion of diverse expertise, unique skills and cultural perspectives will no doubt enrich the overall quality of our services, whilst also providing much needed support to address our workforce shortages. This campaign was not just about recruiting doctors, it was also about building bridges, fostering understanding and creating a brighter and healthier future for all.

We really look forward to the positive impact this international recruitment initiative will have on our Trust and the wellbeing and care of our patients. We are excited to extend our warmest welcome to our new colleagues. Just as we experienced during our international recruitment trip in India, we are eager to offer a similarly warm and inclusive welcome as they join our teams in the few months ahead.

If you are interested in finding out more about how international recruitment could benefit your organisation, get in touch today.

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