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International recruitment of nurses to the UK: The history of the present

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Practice of Reform in Health, Medicine, and Science, 1500–2000
Subtitle of host publicationEssays for Charles Webster
PublisherTaylor and Francis Ltd.
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781351883610
ISBN (Print)9780754639336
Published1 Jan 2017

King's Authors


This chapter provides an introduction to the historical background of the current debate on international recruitment of nurses in the UK. It focuses on the activities of the Colonial Nursing Association (CNA) as the main recruitment vehicle for British nurses to the colonies. Like many philanthropic organizations the CNA relied upon the patronage of social elites. The significance of the Association lay in its being the first recruitment route for single women by the Colonial Office (CO). Data are sparse, but census sources demonstrate that there is very little evidence of recruitment from the colonies prior to the period after the Second World War. In 1957 the Ministry of Labour handed its recruitment and ‘placing’ functions in nursing over to the Ministry of Health which then became responsible for statistics on the nursing services, recruitment campaigns, and matters related to publicity.

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