Employing migrant workers


Case Study: Hammersmith Hospital

Hammersmith Hospital - this will open in a new window

Hammersmith Hospital NHS Trust


Public Sector - NHS Trust

Company history and profile

Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust is one of over 600 NHS Trusts. The Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust, based in north west london was formed in April 1994 and is made up of the following hospitals:
  • Charing Cross Hospital
  • Hammersmith Hospital
  • Queen Charlotte's & Chelsea Hospital
  • Ravenscourt Park Hospital

It is an acute trust with a history of education and research. Charing Cross is an undergraduate teaching hospital and Hammersmith is a post graduate teaching hospital, famous for its research achievements. Queen Charlotte's is world renowned for its maternity and women's and children's services. Ravenscourt Park Hospital operates as a centre for elective orthopaedic surgery.

Values and Approach to employment policy

Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust employs over 5000 staff working in a wide variety of roles. The Trust's business plan for 2003/04 focuses on developing an excellent workforce through recruiting and retaining the right staff, improving the quality of staff management and enhancing the working environment for staff.

The Trust is an exciting place to work, providing healthcare and emergency services for a cosmopolitan and ethnically diverse community in North West London.
The Trust has a very diverse workforce with nearly half its employees from the Black and Minority Ethnic communities. It also has a self-organised Black and Minority Ethnic staff network, and Disability Forum, where issues affecting staff can be raised and addressed. The Trust is a leading NHS employer in dealing with Harassment and Bullying, and ensuring that staff are valued, protected and developed.

Business reason for employing migrant workers

Like many other London NHS Trusts, vacancies reached critical levels in 1996. The decision to seek suitably qualified and experienced nurses from abroad was based on the need to continue stabilise the workforce in order continue to deliver safe and effective patient care. To date around 1,500 nurses have been recruited from over 20 different countries with most of these nurses requiring work permits.

Models and Process

Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust tendered for a preferred recruitment agency with a proven track record of ethical practice and successful placements. The Trust also engages where possible with Department of Health initiatives and specifically was involved in recruitment through the Recruitment Agreement with the Philippine Government.

The Trust co-ordinates all international nurse recruitment centrally, whilst ownership of recruitment decisions and orientation and induction occurs in local departments.

Employee support

The Directorate of Nursing has a section dedicated to co-ordinate the activity of international nurse recruitment. These individuals are the first point of call for troubleshooting issues and facilitate resolving problems. A specific tailored corporate induction is provided before the locally delivered orientation programme. One of the most important successful elements of this specific induction is the Language and Culture Study days (4) which focuses on confidence, telephone skills, handover, common terminology and applies these to clinical scenarios.


The importance of developing relationships with stakeholders to understand systems and the best way of working in collaboration has been imperative to ensure a streamlined approach.

Some of these stakeholders include the Department of Health, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, Trade Unions, the Home Office and Work Permits UK. The Trust has been pleased to be able to advise Work Permits UK and the Home Office about issues that impact upon this specialist workforce.

Contact details

For further information visit the Hammersmith Hospitals NHS Trust web site at


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