There was good cause for celebrating International Nursing Day at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, on Tuesday.

With a report to the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust board setting out the seriousness of the problems recruiting nurses, the vice-chancellor of Oxford Brookes University, with impeccable timing Prof Alistair Fitt, set out his university’s proposals to increase nursing places.

While the training will take place at a Brookes campus in Swindon, there is good reason to believe many of the newly- graduated nurses will find work at the John Radcliffe.

The local hospitals trust is now having to regularly fly out staff to Europe to interview nurses in Spain, Portugal and Poland in an increasingly desperate bid to fill vacancies.

Recruitment events in EU countries are undertaken every four weeks in fact.

During the election campaign we were constantly hearing that our hospitals and NHS are now totally dependent on staff from overseas. This may have led many to wrongly assume that the increasingly heavy demands and responsibilities placed on nurses, which have never been reflected in pay packets, has meant it is no longer viewed as a desirable vocation for young men and women.

The reality, however, is that the vast majority of those who apply for nursing courses are turned away.

We take nurses, qualified abroad, because we choose not to train nurses in sufficient numbers at home.

While the cost of living here puts Oxford at a real disadvantage when it comes to attracting nurses and other key workers, having Oxford Brookes University on our doorstep to help with the recruiting of nursing staff, if not retention.

The increase of 300 Brookes places for nurses and surgical assistants, will be welcomed by staff and patients alike.

But the provision of affordable accommodation is key to the nursing shortages, as it is to so many other major local issues. Fresh thought should be given to key worker accommodation, particularly NHS staff.

The start of work at Barton this week is a reminder that an important opportunity could already have been missed. If homes were eventually to be built at Grenoble Road, it should not be forgotten how conveniently close this city extension would be for the city’s hospital quarter.

At the same time, it would be churlish not to recognise the success of Oxford City Council’s partnership with Grosvenor in delivering a scheme that will provide 885 badly-needed new homes, with 40 per cent of the homes to be affordable and owned by the council.

And looking to the future, what about the big campus at Wheatley soon to become available, owned by Oxford Brookes University?