THE cash-strapped NHS is recruiting doctors and nurses from Romania with attractive salary deals and perks.
They are being offered £2,000 a week, at least 10 times more than they could earn in hospitals back home.
The massive recruitment drive will enrage NHS workers whose salaries have been frozen for two years to save money. In austerity Britain, health authorities are implementing £20billion of cuts over the next four years, with job losses estimated at 10,000 or more in two years.
A Sunday Express investigation in the Romanian region of Transylvania has shown health recruitment firms have been desperately trying to sign up medics, luring them with pay packages far in excess of anything they could earn in their own country.
There are already about 600 Romanian doctors in British hospitals, a figure set to double in five years through the recruitment drives by companies supplying staff to the NHS.
Hundreds of medics attended the MedPharm Careers fair in Cluj-Napoca, Transylvania, this month. NES Healthcare advertised for Romanian doctors with at least two years’ hospital-based experience in pre- and post-surgery care. “You don’t get involved with the surgery, only the care of the patient, before and after,” they were told.
The payment offered was 50,000 euros a year for 168 hours per week, with candidates advised: “you can be called during the night if there is an emergency so you are there all the time. You are working for a week, sleeping at the hospital on call in case anything happens during the night. You get £2,000 a week. Then, the next week, you’re free and you don’t get paid for the free week, you’re paid only when you’re working. You get an employment contract. Accommodation and food are also free.”
Romanians were also interested in working as locums in Britain. One recruiter said: “English doctors like to have holidays and foreign doctors don’t mind working instead.”
The pitch appealed to 31-year-old Horatiu Moldovan who said: “The UK is first on my list. They have this locum system, to replace doctors there, so you can keep your position here too.
“In two or three days of being a locum there, I can earn what I would need to work three months for in Romania.”
Global Medic had contracts for up to three years, at £30 an hour for a minimum 40-hour week.
Dermatologist Alina Surcel, 36, said: “After 10 years of working in Romania as a doctor, I want to go to the UK for labour conditions, for the quality of life, for the future of my children.
“Here, a specialist doctor at a state hospital earns 300 euros, there one can earn 20 times more. But it’s not just the money, there are all the other benefits."