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Urgent need for new nurses at Telford GP practices as ageing staff retire

Telford | News | Published: | Last Updated:

A shortage of nursing staff at GP surgeries in Telford is already being felt locally and needs urgent focus, a report has warned.

An ageing workforce is retiring and not being replaced, a report by the Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has said.

The CCG said nurse staffing levels were at a “moderate risk”.

The risk register suggests extra efforts to recruit and retain nurses, and incentivising those near retirement age to stay in work.

The Primary Care Committee also heard a recent practice nurse workshop “excited and enthused” participants and could help make the role more attractive to student nurses.

In her report, Primary Care head Rebecca Thornley said recruitment and retention of adult nurse practitioners (ANP) and practice nurses “presents a significant risk nationally, regionally and locally.”

“Recent statistics released show a huge reduction in applications after the removal of the nursing bursaries with minimal take-up of the national apprenticeship scheme,” she added.

“This has already been felt locally and, with an ageing practice nursing workforce in Telford and Wrekin, this needs urgent focus.”

Mrs Thornley added that the CCG was “looking to support a programme of active recruitment and retention, including return to work for retirement-age practice nurses.”

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The committee heard a “Practice Nurse Development Workshop” was hosted by Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group in November and attended by representatives of NHS England, Health Education England and universities.

A report on that event said: “We spent time focusing on the changes challenging the traditional roles of practice nursing and the opportunities provided by those changes.

“We heard from academics, trailblazers and from each other as to how nursing can be supported.”

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Mrs Thornley told the committee: “What was very exciting to see was the number of dynamic young practice nurses who have come to the patch and were energised and enthused by it.”

Elsewhere the trust that runs Shropshire's two hospitals has made a call for new nurses to join its nurses bank.

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH), which runs Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, is continuing its campaign to add nurses to its bank of staff.

The campaign was originally launched in 2017, and included adverts on the back of buses and targeted email and social media activity.

Deirdre Fowler, director of nursing, midwifery and quality at SaTH, said: “We would much rather use our own bank staff as much as possible, not just because of the premiums that agencies charge, but because bank staff provide better continuity of care for our patients.”

For more information visit jobs.sath.nhs.uk/find-job/bank-staff?track=nursebank

Report by Alex Moore, Local democracy reporter

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