A Letter to The Guardian

Dear Editor,
Every year you print an expanding list of hospitals who fail to manage their budgets and without fail, mention the costs of agency staff recruitment as a contributory cause. (Years of cuts…11th May). Each year I write to hospitals offering to help them cut these costs by working with our charity Growing Points to help refugees join their workforce – many want to be nurses. Our only stipulation is that hospitals pay the minimum wage to our customers who embark on this apprentice programme (many do not).
Our programme, called Hidden Talents, is available free, to anyone from an excluded community who has an ambition to join the NHS. We work closely with organisations to recruit and support trainees. We have already helped 29 refugees in Leeds to sustainable careers in NHS.
We’d like to help far more and need hospitals to work with us to deliver this programme which has already been a finalist for 2 national awards.
Can the NHS please get real about recruiting people from their own communities to staunch this dreadful waste of money on agency provision? It will certainly help them reduce their debt and improve the diversity of their workforce as well as helping local people into great jobs.
Dick Stockford