nurse at work - creative commons image from Public Health Image Library

A much-needed recruitment drive for new nurses in Cheshire is beginning to bear fruit, writes Stephen Topping.

Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is expecting to have welcomed 40 nurses from India by the end of the year – more than double the number it previously expected to hire.

The trust – which runs Leighton Hospital in Crewe, Victoria Infirmary in Northwich and Elmhurst in Winsford – also received 18 offers from potential new registered nurses at a recruitment event last month.

And a new nursing apprenticeship scheme – which would see recruits become ready to work at Mid Cheshire Hospitals in three years’ time – received 10 applications in its first day.

Dennis Dunn MBE, the trust’s chairman, told Monday’s board meeting: “It’s certainly very good, positive progress on recruitment, because we have had a challenge with that.”

The trust decided to pay around £425,000 to work with an international nursing recruitment agency at March’s board meeting.

In June, directors were told 22 new recruits were expected from the scheme.

But Julie Tunney, director of nursing and quality, revealed on Monday 30 would now be recruited through the agency and should be with Mid Cheshire Hospitals by October.

Those nurses will add to 10 more from India who have recently joined the trust and are currently being trained up ready to work at its hospitals by the autumn.

Ms Tunney added: “Lots of things are happening to try and get staff in – maintaining patient safety at all times.

“In terms of retention, it’s so important once we do get the staff here that we keep them.”

It is hoped the recruitment drive will reduce the trust’s number of nursing vacancies, boost morale among its workforce and cut its spending on agency nurses.

In the most recent figures put to directors on Monday, the trust spent more than £200,000 on agency nurses in June, while it spent more than £400,000 on agency nurses last December – the most expensive month in the past year.

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