Eighty Filipino nurses have been signed up to work at Blackpool Victoria Hospital following a recruitment drive in the Philippines, a meeting has heard.
They were expected to start the recruitment process this month as bosses continue to work to fill vacant posts – which reportedly account for around seven per cent of all jobs at the hospital.
Background checks will be carried out, and the nurses will undergo a training course before making it on hospital wards. No start date has been agreed however.
A spokesman said: “Safe staffing levels are a priority for the trust and as a major employer with more than 6,500 staff we are continually looking to recruit committed and talented people into Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.”
Last July, The Gazette revealed how medics were being asked to work extra hours as health bosses scoured the globe looking to fill hundreds of job posts.
As well as hiring from the Philippines, a jobs fair was held in Dublin, while the trust was set to attend a Nursing and Midwifery Council event in Manchester.
The trust was also working with Cumbria University, and the University of Central Lancashire to offer jobs to students before they graduate.
It said it planned to spend an extra £4.8m on staff wages this year, hiring more staff to reduce the need to take on more expensive agency workers, and introduced ‘more robust and in-depth’ exit interviews to find out why one in 10 workers were leaving annually, a figure it said was comparable to other trusts.
Despite the efforts, bosses remain concerned they will fail to reduce staff vacancies to 2.5 per cent by 2021 because of ‘higher than expected levels of vacant roles’, documents show.
The average number of doctors per 100 beds was 83 in England, a BBC investigation revealed last week. At Blackpool, that number was 59.
“The number of full time equivalent jobs available at the trust differs day-to-day, but at present we have 293 clinical vacancies,” the spokesman said.
Of those, 54 are for doctors and dentists, while 182 are nursing and midwifery positions, The Gazette understands.
“There are national difficulties in NHS recruitment as the supply of UK registered nurses is near exhaustion which is why a number of trusts across the country are recruiting in Europe and farther afield,” the spokesman added.
“The NHS is also facing a national shortage of doctors in such areas as care of the elderly, emergency care, histopathology, diabetes and breast radiologists.”