An Indian Government minister made a special visit to the UK to meet nurses working and training as part of Health Education England’s (HEE) global learners scheme.

The Minister for Labour and Excise, the Hon TP Ramakrishnan visited the Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital where he was welcomed by Director of Nursing Christine Pearson and met nurses from the Kerala State currently providing healthcare services for patients while enhancing their skills through training at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust. 

Mr Ramakrishnan said: “It has been a very useful visit. I am very impressed with the nurses I met. They are clearly benefiting from their time in England and improving their skills every day with a world-class health care provider.

“The nurses have been extremely well looked after in East Lancashire and the global engagement team at Health Education England. This is a scheme we would wish to see expand and something we would like more nursing staff in Kerala to experience.”

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Christine Pearson, Director of Nursing at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We are very pleased to welcome the global learners to our Trust. 

"They bring with them a wealth of nursing knowledge and experience, which will support and enhance our current nursing workforce. We look forward to being part of their onward nursing career, and hope they enjoy their time with us.”

HEE is working with State Governments in India to deliver the global learners’ programme to ensure it is run ethically and with appropriate government oversight and support both in India and the UK.

A key part of the global learners’ programme is ensuring that nurses can return to India with enhanced skills.

Professor Ged Byrne, Director of Global Engagement at HEE, added: “It was great to be able to welcome the Minister on his fact-finding visit to England to see first-hand how the global learners programme is working to benefit patients in England in time back in Kerala when the nurses return to their home country better equipped with skills and experience learnt in the NHS.”

Kerala produces thousands of nurses every year. It has a minimal vacancy rate in the nursing sector with no risk to the workforce capacity in the region during the three years when nurses work and train in the UK.