More nurses recruited to plug shortage

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Nurses are being recruited to plug staffing shortages at the district’s hospitals.

Stephen Eames, chief executive of Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust, has insisted recruitment plans are on target after fears were raised of a staffing crisis leading to patients being harmed.

In April, a trust board report said increases in patients being injured from falls and developing pressures ulcers have been reported at Dewsbury, Pinderfields and Pontefract hospitals.

Latest figures showed Mid Yorkshire had more than 220 nursing and midwifery vacancies and had recruited 89 nurses from India to try to plug the shortfall.

Mr Eames said a shortage of full-time nurses in the NHS was national issue but Mid Yorkshire would be fully staffed by the winter.

He said: “Some 600,000 overseas nurses are working in the NHS and that tells it’s own story.

“We have done well to recruit Spanish nurses, about 50 of them, and 90 Indian nurses.

“We will have a full input at the beginning of next winter.”

As reported in April, the trust board report said: “Due to inadequate staffing levels patients may be at risk of harm, patient safety may be compromised and patients may experience poor care.

“Evidence highlights that there has been an increase in the number of serious incidents as a result of patients falling and sustaining harm within the organisation.”

At the time, Mid Yorkshire said it had invested £1.2m in nurse staffing over the past year.

The board report emerged after Mid Yorkshire was criticised in an inspection report published by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) last November.

The CQC inspection, carried out last July, found that patients were at risk because of staffing shortages.

Mr Eames said nursing vacancies existed at the trust but shortages of full-time nurses were being covered by temporary staff.

He said: “We are covering those vacancies in a number of ways, sometimes internal and sometimes with agency staff.”

The trust is also reviewing its contract with NHS Professionals (NHSP), a specialist organisation which provides temporary doctors and nurses to hospitals.

Mr Eames added: “The other thing is we have been effectively locked into a contract with NHSP, which we have found sometimes hasn’t performed to the standards we wanted it to in terms of recruitment.”