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Highland hospital recruits band 6 staff as health board seeks 'island nurse'

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Two senior nurses have been appointed at the Dunbar Hospital, which was recently forced to close for 48 hours due to a lack of nursing staff, according to a Scottish health board.

NHS Highland announced on Monday that its efforts to attract qualified nursing staff to the minor injuries unit at Dunbar Hospital had proved successful with the appointment of two senior nurses.

“We now hope to build on this success by attracting more qualified nursing staff”

Mike Flavell

It said “extra efforts” were made to fill the two band 6 posts at the hospital’s MIU and out-of-hours urgent care centre, after the temporary weekend closure of the unit in Thurso during March.

The posts were originally advertised just before Christmas, but without success, and were then re-advertised after “extreme staffing concerns” forced the closure of the MIU.

In a statement, the board said that one new band 6 nurse would take up her post by the end of May 2017, with another nurse starting in the middle of June.

In addition, NHS Highland said it hoped that another band 6 nurse would return from long-term sick leave at around that time as well.

On top of this strengthening of senior nursing staff levels at the MIU, the board said it also aimed to recruit more nursing staff to band 5 posts within the Dunbar Hospital.

Mike Flavell, NHS Highland’s district manager for Caithness, said: “The success of our recruitment efforts with these appointments is great news, especially as another qualified nurse is returning to the unit from long-term sick leave.

NHS Highland

New nurses recruited for closure-hit unit in highlands

Mike Flavell

“We now hope to build on this success by attracting more qualified nursing staff to the Dunbar, including two part-time band 5 nursing posts that are vacant in the in-patient unit,” he added.

Nursing Times asked NHS Highland for more information on the current and planned establishment of the unit. With the new recruits and the returner, the unit will have around five whole-time equivalent band 6 nurses and around 4.5 band 5 nurses.

An NHS Highland spokesman said: “We have recruited a full-time band 6 to start at the end of May and a 0.8 band 6 who will start in early June.

“We also hope to have 0.6 band 6 back from long term sick at the start of June, so – with a band 6 on secondment – we will have 4.9 band 6s in an establishment of 5.4 WTEs with the 0.4 band 6 being advertised,” he said.

“Meanwhile, we are 1.1 band 5s short of the establishment of 5.6 band 5 WTEs at Dunbar. These 0.5 and 0.6 band 5 posts are currently being advertised,” he added.

‘Island nurse’ sought for Shetlands post

Meanwhile, NHS Shetland is seeking a full-time band 6 nurse to provide healthcare cover for the remote Scottish island of Fair Isle, which has a resident population of around 60.

It is hoping to recruit an “enthusiastic autonomous practitioner with a degree of flexibility” to work on the island of Fair Isle, which has no doctors, said the health board’s job advert.

NHS Shetland

‘Island nurse’ sought for Shetlands post

Source: Dr Julian Paren

North coast of Fair Isle

The successful candidate, who will act as first point of contact for the public in the absence of a resident medical practitioner, will be either a district nurse or nurse practitioner, noted the board.

“Working in these remote settings presents many exciting opportunities as well as challenges,” stated NHS Shetland, adding that post holder would be able to rent a “nurse’s house” on the island.

It said: “You must be able to work autonomously, providing nursing care to a high standard and be able to use your own initiative to address healthcare issues within this remote island setting.

“A degree of personal resilience is also required to work in this single-handed post on a non-doctor island with support available via telephone or videoconference link,” it added.

The island’s current community nurse is Elena Mera Long, who is leaving after nine years.

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