THE number of foreign staff at Barnsley Hospital is much lower than the national average, new figures have revealed.

Statistics from NHS Digital show Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust employed 350 staff from outside the UK as of June 30.

It’s the equivalent to 8.6 per cent of all the staff at the trust who declared their nationality.

Of them, 69 were from the EU or a ‘European economic area’, and a further 281 were from the rest of the world.

The ratio of foreign-to-UK staff at the Gawber Road site was low compared to other trusts across the country.

Those figures show the average percentage of staff being non-UK nationals stood at 21.5.

These figures were based on the total head count of staff working at the trust, rather than the equivalent full-time employees.

Saffron Cordery, interim chief executive of NHS Providers, said the figures show just how ‘much our severely understaffed NHS relies on dedicated people from all over the world.

She added: “The stark reality is that the NHS just doesn’t have enough staff, putting patients’ safety at risk by affecting the care that overstretched staff can provide.

“With vacancies at an all-time high across health and care services - 132,000 in trusts in England alone - we desperately need a long-term, fully-funded workforce plan for the NHS from the government to invest in growing the staff we recruit from within the UK, alongside valued recruits from abroad.”

As of June, there were 141 doctors and 110 nurses from outside of the UK working at Barnsley Hospital.

Nationally, the number of full-time equivalent hospital and community health service doctors is 33.8 per cent - a stark increase from 25.9 per cent in 2016.

There has been a similarly sharp jump in the proportion of nurses and health visitors who are non-UK nationals, which now stands at a quarter of the total, up from around one in six in December 2016.

Caroline Waterfield, of the workforce organisation NHS Employers, said: “The NHS benefits greatly from hugely talented workers from around the world.

“The recent focus on additional recruitment of international nurses has resulted in a significant change in the profile of the NHS nursing workforce we have also seen an increase in the numbers of individuals undertaking the nurse degree apprenticeship and undergraduate nursing programmes.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman added: “International recruitment is only one part of our plans to grow the NHS workforce, and the supply of homegrown staff is increasing.

“NHS England have also been commissioned to develop a long-term workforce plan to help recruit and retain more NHS staff.”