Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust recently welcomed 10 nurses from Portugal following a national struggle to staff wards.

The trust, which runs Woolwich’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Lewisham Hospital, has recruited 44 nurses from Portugal, Spain and Italy where it says there is a surplus of “good nurses”.

It comes after the Nursing Times recently reported at least a third of hospital trusts in England have had to venture overseas to fill a shortage in the NHS.

Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust deputy nurse director Claire O’Brien said: “All trusts in the country are finding it hard to recruit nurses at the moment so recently a team visited Portugal, Italy and Spain, where due to the economic situation there is a surplus of good nursing staff."

She went on to say the nurses all had telephone interviews plus English and Maths tests before a formal interview process.

New staff nurse at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Sara Pereira, said: “I am very excited about working here.

“I have heard it is a lovely area to live and very multicultural which I wanted when looking for a nursing job.

"One of the trust values which really stood out and was very important to me, was the trust puts patients first and straight away I knew this was the place for me to work.”

The trust says it is helping newly qualified nurses and midwives from the University of Greenwich and King’s College London to find employment at the two hospitals.

It is also helping former nurses back into the profession with a Return to Practice programme. To find out more contact nursing education and development lead Diane Cameron on 020 8836 5818 or email diane.cameron1@nhs.net