Kings College London and the University of Southampton found that the hospitals with the highest proportion of foreign nurses had the highest levels of patient dissatisfaction.
They questioned 12,000 patients and looked at the workforce of 46 NHS hospitals, and found that for every 10 per cent increase in the number of nurses trained abroad, there was a 12 per cent decrease in patients rating their hospital good or excellent.
Professor Anne Marie Rafferty, study co-author from King’s College London, said: “Language differences, cultural expectations, and professional norms of different countries may all contribute to patients’ perceptions and create challenges for rapid and effective decision-making for acutely ill hospitalised patients.”
At some hospitals more than half of the nurses in the workforce were trained abroad, most commonly in the Philippines, India and countries in Africa.
A Department of Health spokesperson told The Telegraph: “Overseas nurses are a crucial part of the NHS team but they must be highly qualified, demonstrate care and compassion and have good communication skills. The Nursing and Midwifery Council has strict criteria to make sure this is the case.”
Many NHS trusts are trying to recruit more nurses following the scandal at Mid Staffs, where shortages of staff contributed to the appalling standards of care.
The Chancellor announced plans for an increase of nurse training places, to 10,000. However, the introduction of tuition fees on these courses, and the prospect of up to £65,000 of student debt may deter potential new recruits.