A GROUP of nurses who have come to the Forest from overseas to support the NHS are now seeking permanent accommodation so that they and their families can settle in before the winter.
The four experienced nurses, Haila, Sudharani, Tehmy and Achu, are currently undergoing local training and induction to work at Lydney Hospital after arriving in the Forest a few weeks ago.
Their relocation is part of a national initiative to support the health service, funded by NHS England.
They are looking to start regular shifts at the hospital in the coming weeks, having previously worked at hospitals in India, Malta and the Philippines.
The nurses are currently staying at a local hotel but are now looking for somewhere more permanent to live so that their families can join them.
Haila said: "We have had a very warm welcome since arriving in the UK.
"The Forest of Dean is a beautiful place and we have really enjoyed getting to know the local area and the people.
"We are excited to begin working in the hospital and using our skills to support the local community."
Cheryl Haswell, matron for Lydney and Dilke Hospitals, said: "There is a well-recognised shortage of nurses in the UK and with the challenges we have experienced in the past 18 months through Covid, we are greatly in need of some further expertise and support.
"The nurses we have recruited from overseas will be a huge boost to us in our community hospitals and we are really glad they have chosen to come here to support our local people."
Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Lydney and Dilke Hospitals, has recruited 40 nurses from overseas within the past six months through a scheme funded by NHS England.
Director of Nursing, John Trevains, said: "There is a long tradition of nurses joining the NHS from overseas and it’s important to point out that this scheme ensures that recruitment is ethical and that nurses are not being recruited from countries where they have their own shortage of qualified staff.
"The nurses are all trained and experienced nurses in their home countries and when they join us they are supported with accommodation for their first 12 weeks and given a full induction programme.
"If they pass their objective structured clinical examination (OSCE), which the scheme also pays for, they are then able to obtain their PIN via the Nursing and Midwifery Council and are given support in finding their own accommodation, as well as ongoing pastoral support."