Ninety per cent of Filipino nurses fail English test to work in UK hospitals

Filipino nurses
Despite English being an official language of the Philippines, a bid to staff a British hospital with Filipino nurses was thwarted due to their poor language skills

A plan to employ more than 200 Filipino nurses in a British hospital has failed after nearly 90 per cent failed an English language test.

The nurses had been offered jobs at the Medway Maritime Hospital in Kent after a recruitment drive in Manila to fill nearly 400 nursing vacancies at the hospital.

However, 52 of 59 nurses offered jobs failed an English language test, meaning they cannot begin work.

The seven who passed are due to start at the hospital within weeks.

Nurses from countries outside the EU are required to take an English test by the Nursing and Midwifery council to ensure their understanding of the language is of a suitable level.

Candidates are put through oral, reading, writing and listening tests with a passmark of about 80 per cent. In the past hospital chiefs have criticised the tests for being too stringent.

Filipino nurses fall at final hurdle

However, a nurse who works at a hospital in London told MailOnline that good English skills were essential to ensure standards did not slip.

She said: “It is a real problem that some nurses don’t speak or understand English very well, but with fewer nurses training in Britain and more people leaving the job, what option do we have?

“We need to start paying nurses a decent wage to attract people back to the profession.

“The simple fact is that by employing people who don’t speak or understand English fully, we are putting patents in danger.”

Qualified nurses in the National Health Service (NHS) have a starting salary of about 1,500,000 pesos per year. With promotions and ongoing training, this can rise to as much as 6,730,000 pesos.

Nurses work 37.5 hours per week, with the possibility of paid overtime. As well as 35 days per year holiday, NHS workers enjoy some of the most generous pension provisions in the country.