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Nurse shortages cost Shropshire hospitals £1.4 MILLION a month

By Dominic Robertson | Shrewsbury | Health | Published:

Shropshire's two main hospitals are having to pay out £1.4 million a month for "bank" and agency nurses to ensure they have enough staff on duty.

Shrewsbury & Telford Hospitals NHS Trust (SaTH) , which runs Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital Telford, paid £1.48 million in January and £1.42 million in February for agency and bank nurses, who are on a list of nurses available to be called on to fill staffing gaps.

The trust says other hospitals across the country are facing similar recruitment problems and that its priority is making sure there are enough nurses to safely look after patients.

Deirdre Fowler, director of nursing, midwifery and quality at SATH said the organisation is making efforts to recruit more staff, including nurses and health care assistants.

She explained that staff nurses are preferable to agency staff because of the continuity they provide for patient care.

She said: "Our ambition is to recruit permanent doctors and nurses to join us in our hospitals. This is far better than relying on agency staff who cost more money and are unable to provide the same continuity of care to our patients.

"Our trust is not alone in experiencing difficulties in recruitment and we have needed to employ agency staff, which includes locums, to ensure we have enough staff on duty to provide safe care for our patients.

“We don’t set the fee for agency staff but it’s essential we have enough staff to look after our patients.

“We are continuing our efforts to recruit permanent staff to fill vacancies, including recruitment days for staff nurses and health care assistants."

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Ms Fowler urged anyone interested in working at the trust to visit its website.

She said: “Find out more about job opportunities at SaTH at sath.nhs.uk/working-with-us.”

Earlier this month it was revealed that the NHS is facing a shortage of nurses across the country, with The Health Foundation claiming there is a need for another 30,000.

It has also emerged that the number of nurses from the EU registering to work in the UK has dropped by 96 per cent, less than a year after the country voted to leave the EU.

Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) statistics show that last July, 1,304 EU nurses came to work in the UK, a figure that fell to just 46 in April.

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