Thirty six nurses have been recruited at West Suffolk Hospital including 22 from Portugal due to an ongoing shortage of registered nurses in the UK.
Fourteen newly qualified student nurses have also started work after completing their training while the new Portuguese intake join 40 other nurses from the country who started working at the hospital earlier this year.
They will add to the hospital’s 1,000-strong nursing staff - 60 per cent of which are registered nurses - and will replace bank and agency nurses, fill existing vacancies and help staff with any extra workload over the winter.
A hospital spokeswoman said: “We’ve found it difficult to recruit staff due to a shortage of registered nurses coming through the system. This has been the case for many hospitals across the UK.
“There is also a surplus of registered nurses in Portugal, which means we are not depriving another healthcare system of nurses.”
In Portugal nurses complete a four year degree course with the final nine months spent working in an acute hospital. The courses are very similar those in Britain.