Published: 30/06/2005, Volume II5, No. 5962 Page 20 21

Benjamin Ball, managing director, Adevia Health

Last month's King's Fund study on nurse recruitment underestimates the current problem.

The UK cannot afford to erect barriers to international recruitment.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council's overseas nurses programme, which requires non-EU nurses to take a language test and a 20-day training course before becoming UK-registered, is a major obstacle. The cost and delay of this will deter good nurses coming from overseas.

The government must make it easier for the best nurses to come to the UK and then to ensure their working conditions are attractive.

Otherwise, we will see fewer good nurses coming to the UK, more agency nurses, and more nurses leaving for the US, Australia and New Zealand.

This is not good for UK nursing and is not good for the NHS.