Shropshire Star

New staff offered up to £3,000 incentive to work at Bishop's Castle Hospital - trust confirms

A health trust has confirmed that part time staff are being offered a "recruitment incentive" of up to £3,000 to work at Bishop's Castle Hospital.

Campaigners marched to save Bishop's Castle Hospital

Campaigners have welcomed what they call a £3,000 'golden handshake' for new staff as attempts to recruit people for the much loved community hospital saw interested local nurses turn up for a drop in at the hospital on Saturday.

Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust, which is recruiting for the hospital, disputes the phrase "golden handshake", saying the £3,000 is a recruitment and retention incentive, pro-rata for part time staff, and is only applicable to newly appointed Band 5 roles to Bishop’s Castle.

Campaigners also say they are a "step closer" to re-opening the 16 beds soon. The trust says the beds are made up of 12 permanent beds and four escalation beds for times of winter pressure. But the trust points out that the recruitment process has not yet concluded.

Jenny Sargent of the ‘Save our Beds’ campaign, said: “We understand we are now very close to having the 12 new staff needed to reopen the ward.

"We were here all day on Saturday to welcome potential new applicants and were impressed by the quality and positive attitudes. We understand four of those turning up on the day were suitable for several relevant posts.”

Fellow campaigner Alicia Hegarty said: “We just need a few more band five registered nurses to give us back a fully functioning ward.

“These beds are essential for post-op recovery, respite, and end-of-life care. They take pressure off our main hospitals by providing local beds at a much lower cost, vital for our rural communities.”

A spokesperson for ShropComm said people are not in post yet.

"We are making progress with the recruitment and at the recruitment day on Saturday interviewed a number of suitable candidates," said the spokesperson.

"These candidates have been offered posts, however, they are still going through the recruitment process and are not in post yet."

The closing date for applying for a role at the hospital is December 16, 2023.

The salaries on offer are in the range of £28,407 to £34,581 which does not include the recruitment incentive payment.

Bishop's Castle Lib Dem councillor Ruth Houghton said: “I was pleased to spend Saturday at the Hospital helping interview potential applicants.

“Bishops Castle Community Hospital is so important to the town, located where we are many miles from other medical resources, and reopening the ward is so important to the hospital’s future.”

Chris Naylor, the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate in South Shropshire, said: “With two medics in the family I was delighted to be invited to spend the day supporting the recruitment drive and talking with several excellent applicants.

"Backing South Shropshire’s community hospitals is the top line of our local manifesto, and I’m totally committed - having done the 18 mile bed push with Mayor Josh Dickin - to backing Bishop's Castle.”

To see the vacancies at Bishop's Castle Hospital, visit the website.