Shropshire's hospitals face nurse shortage
Shropshire's two main hospitals are short of nearly 60 full-time nurses, health chiefs have revealed.
It comes as figures showed nearly £750,000 was spent on agency nurses to fill the gaps at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Telford's Princess Royal in June alone.
The huge continued outlay is being blamed for a £4 million overspend since April this year, with bosses warning of a £15 million deficit unless urgent action is taken.
Addressing a Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust board meeting yesterday, director of nursing Sarah Broomfield said an investment had been made in an agency to try to recruit nurses from overseas before the start of the financial year in April.
She said: "Unfortunately the agency failed to provide anywhere near that number of registered nurses, and delivered just two. They have started now and they are excellent, but the agency's failure to deliver has severely affected our ability to recruit."
Mrs Broomfield said there were 57 vacancies for nurses across the two hospitals.
She said 20 candidates had currently been shortlisted for interview over the next few weeks, but presented figures to the board which predicted that the posts would not be filled completely until February next year at the earliest.
The trust has not revealed how much it paid the agency, but a spokesman said it was on a "pay by results" basis.
"We only incurred the cost of those that were actually recruited," he said.
Trust chief executive Peter Herring said health chiefs were currently paying 50 per cent above normal wages for healthcare assistants and at least 70 per cent over the odds for nurses.
"We need to reduce our significant agency costs," he said.
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