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German hospital in charm offensive to lure Polish nurses from UK

Dusseldorf’s university hospital placed adverts vowing better pay, weather and food as the Brexit deadline approaches.

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A nurse on a ward at a hospital (Peter Byrne/PA)

A nurse on a ward at a hospital (Peter Byrne/PA)

A nurse on a ward at a hospital (Peter Byrne/PA)

A German hospital has put better pay, weather and food at the heart of its recruitment pitch to Polish nurses working in the NHS as Brexit looms.

A shorter trip home is also part of the charm offensive targeting nurses working in Britain, who are among European workers worried about what will happen to their work permits and right of residence if the United Kingdom leaves the European Union on March 29.

The university hospital of Dusseldorf put out the ads in two Polish weekly papers in Britain late last month.

It is more than a friendly Brexit lifeline extended to citizens of a neighbouring country: the hospital is in dire need of nursing staff and is hoping to fill that shortage with experienced professionals whose time in Britain may be running out.

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The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin (Chris Radburn/PA)

The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin (Chris Radburn/PA)

The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin (Chris Radburn/PA)

“We have already received first inquiries,” Torsten Rantzsch, the director of nursing at the hospital in western Germany, said.

He said the ads were deliberately written in a tongue-in-cheek style, but that “we also wanted to offer an alternative to Polish colleagues, namely the security of an EU country”.

Tens of thousands of European Union citizens currently living and working in Britain are concerned about what will happen to their status when the UK leaves the 27-country bloc.

With just a month to go before Brexit day, there has been no clarity on their future status and that uncertainty is worsened by the prospect of a no-deal Brexit.

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(PA Graphics)

(PA Graphics)

(PA Graphics)

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Since Poland joined the EU in 2004, 20,000 of the country’s 280,000 nurses have left their home country for Britain and elsewhere in Western Europe.

The advertisement features Dusseldorf’s pretty skyline with the city’s landmark TV tower in front of blue skies and the Rhine River in the foreground, with the pitch written in both Polish and German.

The hospital decided to focus its campaign specifically on Poles, because many learn German in school and would be able to fit in quickly, Mr Rantzsch said.

“We deliberately kept the advertisement in German … because we wanted to address German-speaking nursing staff,” said Mr Rantzsch, adding that the Dusseldorf university hospital needs to hire 100 additional nurses.

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A sign for a hospital car park a new study (Chris Radburn/PA)

A sign for a hospital car park a new study (Chris Radburn/PA)

A sign for a hospital car park a new study (Chris Radburn/PA)

Overall there is a shortage of 70,000 nursing staff in German hospitals.

The hospital has already had good luck turning abroad to fill its shortage of skilled nurses.

In 2012, Dusseldorf’s university hospital, and many other hospitals across Germany, started looking for nurses in Spain and other European countries with higher unemployment or lower wages at the time, like Italy, Hungary and Romania.


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