High numbers of agency nursing staff at Shropshire's hospitals
More than two thirds of nurses in Shropshire’s A&E departments could be agency staff or permanent employees working overtime, according to a local health boss.
Christine Morris, Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group’s quality and safety lead, said the NHS trust that runs the Princess Royal and Royal Shrewsbury hospitals made “quite high” use of short-term staff.
She said the rate was 50:50 across the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals NHS Trust (SaTH), and they were trying to improve the culture and boost recruitment and retention.
Mrs Morris said the NHS Staff Survey report, which gathered information about employees’ motivation and morale, “wasn’t good”, and added: “The trust are taking the position that solutions need to come from the ground up rather than the top down, which I think is the right thing to do.”
Peter Eastaugh, a lay member of the Telford and Wrekin CCG governance board, asked Mrs Morris: “Do we know the percentage of the nursing staff who are agency staff, as opposed to substantive staff?”
Mrs Morris said: “It’s very often 50 per cent bank and agency and 50 per cent substantive staff on shift.
“On A&E we have, sometimes, seen a ratio of 30 per cent substantive and 70 per cent agency.
“The mitigation from the trust is that they block-book agency staff for that period and put them through their own training, which is good.”
Mr Eastaugh asked: “Are the agency staff local, or bussed in from far away?”
Mrs Morris said: “It’s a mixture. Some of them are the trust’s own staff who are working extra hours.”
Mrs Morris said SaTH’s use of agency and overtime hours was “quite high” when compared to other trusts, but said they were working hard to recruit and retain nurses.
She gave the example of the “golden ticket” scheme, which guarantees student nurses a job with the trust when they complete their qualifications.