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Shropshire hospitals to employ new nurses

Bridgnorth | News | Published:

Health bosses in charge of Shropshire's community hospitals are spending more than £600,000 on employing almost 20 new nurses in a bid to cut costs by reducing reliance on agency staff.

Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust has committed £633,000 to employing the equivalent of 19 new members of staff across its hospitals in Bridgnorth, Bishop's Castle, Whitchurch and Ludlow.

The equivalent of 10 full-time members of staff are being deployed in Ludlow, with three in Bridgnorth, almost three in Whitchurch and two-and-a-half in Bishop's Castle.

Some new staff have already been employed, with recruitment ongoing for other posts.

The trust is currently involved in a project to reduce reliance on agency staff and has been working with Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Hospital Trust to use the integrated bank of workers since June.

The investment in new staff comes despite the trust needing to make £2.5 million of savings this financial year, with £1.2 million of cuts identified in the first six months of the current financial year.

But Julie Thornby, director of governance and strategy for the trust, said bringing new permanent staff in may actually help bring about savings in the long-run, as well as improving standards of care.

"By reducing the agency and bank staff we use, we are reducing our costs but you actually improve quality," she said.

A report going to the trust's board ahead of its meeting in Whitchurch tomorrow revealed some of the measures which have already been implemented to meet this year's savings targets from out of the organisation's annual £73.5 million budget.

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These have included agency expenditure now only being approved by directors, all invoices and requisitions over £500 being handled by either divisional managers or deputy directors and a reduction in mileage expenses for lease cars used by trust workers.

All spending in areas other than salary is also being reviewed by the NHS Trust's procurement team.

It is hoped this will help to identify potential opportunities for further savings.

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