Shropshire Star

Recruitment campaign for threatened hospital beds 'half way there' as community rallies round in support

A community has come together big time to get behind a recruitment campaign for its much valued local hospital.

File picture of residents of Bishops Castle marching from Town Hall to Community College in support of their campaign to keep the beds open at Bishops Castle Hospital

Campaigners successfully saw a health trust reverse its plans to possibly revoke a contract to run the 16 beds at Bishop's Castle Hospital.

An internal report earlier this year found that more could have been done to recruit to fill vacancies at the hospital, which Shropshire Community Health Trust agreed with.

Dr Adrian Penney, of the town's surgery, and himself a well known local, said: "We are half way there with recruitment and well on the way. It does feel very positive and we have a better working relationship with the trust.

From left, former town crier Jeff Alldridge, town mayor Josh Dickin and Dr Adrian Penney

"I am concerned that the recruitment adverts have been pulled from the Trust's website as we approach a recruitment day. They seem to have forgotten Bishop's Castle again as they look to recruit to Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Princess Royal Hospital."

Sarah Allan, Associate Director of Workforce & Resourcing at the trust said the removal of the adverts was a normal part of the recruitment process.

She said: "Sll adverts have a closing date so we can review any applications and shortlist as appropriate. This process takes place through Trac - our applicant management tracking system - and once this has taken place, the job is re-advertised if there remain vacancies to fill."

She added that recruitment is progressing as planned.

Before: Dr Adrian Penney

"Recruitment for Bishop’s Castle Community Hospital is progressing as planned," she said. "With ongoing engagement with external stakeholders. We also have recruitment events taking place on November 25 and two further events in the New Year." The first recruitment event took place in October.

The ShropCom recruitment events showcase roles available at Bishop’s Castle Community Hospital, with potential recruits invited to attend on-the-day interviews, tour the hospital, and view the immersive mobile training unit.

Vacancies for Deputy Ward Manager, Registered Nurses and Nursing Associates are currently being recruited to and a number of applicants from the October event have now received conditional offers for these roles.

Clair Hobbs, Director of Nursing, Clinical Delivery and Workforce at Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust said: “Our local community are at the heart of everything we do. Therefore, it was wonderful to meet so many of them at our October event all passionate about working for their local NHS”

“Throughout the day the Recruitment Team welcomed a steady stream of candidates and as a result have been able to make conditional offers to a number of healthcare roles at Bishop’s Castle Community Hospital.”

Amanda Houghton, Ward Manager at Bishop’s Castle Community Hospital says: “This is a fantastic opportunity to be a part of a local hospital, and work as part of a community health Trust which helps to keep patients closer to their homes, families, friends, and support network.”

“If you are looking for a role where you can really make a difference in the local community, I urge you to apply online and attend one of our recruitment drop-in sessions.”

Bishop’s Castle Community Hospital offers a 16-bedded, Nurse-Led unit where patients can be admitted for rehabilitation, when they are too well to be in an acute hospital but not well enough to be at home looking after themselves.

Bishop's Castle's busy town mayor, Councillor Josh Dickin, has thrown his efforts behind the campaign too, starring in an online video extolling the virtues of living and working in the beautiful Bishop's Castle area.

He is part of a campaign which Dr Penney says has galvanised the community and helped raise awareness as well as bringing people together.

Save our Beds and the Shropshire Community Health Trust agreed that a new recruitment drive would be launched and the Trust is providing it with a welcome room in the hospital for the Recruitment/Open Days where they can chat with visitors and tell them about the lovely town.

The campaign group is asking all current or retired nurses and nursing associates to give serious consideration to coming to work in this very well-equipped hospital in the "friendly, welcoming and very vibrant town".

Dr Penney even had his locks chopped off at a recent fundraiser for campaign group publicity and admin costs to support for the Save Our Beds group.

The recent hair chopping fundraiser at The Six Bells pub saw Dr Penney's rapid hair loss gather some £850 in total. This was added to when former Bishop's Castle town crier Jeff Alldridge was cajoled in a friendly way to having his locks 'unpicked'.

The night doubled up as a fundraised for the town's Christmas Lights which has well over £1,500 in the pot and counting.

To see the jobs available at Bishop's Castle Hospital, visit the trust website.

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