A large acute trust in Greater Manchester has unveiled ambitions to boost its nursing and midwifery establishment by 300 over the next three years, in response to calls from frontline staff.
The workforce commitment, which will be backed by £10m, forms part of wider £20.5m investment in improvement plans revealed by Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust.
“We have listened to our nursing staff who have told us that we need to increase our nursing and midwifery staffing levels”
The trust runs Fairfield General Hospital, North Manchester General Hospital, the Royal Oldham Hospital and Rochdale Infirmary.
Senior managers from the neighbouring Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust have been helping support Pennine, which has been viewed as a struggling provider for a number of years.
It has been under significant scrutiny of late, with severe workforce shortages leading to “immense pressure” on staff and a poor performance rating from regulators, as reported by Nursing Times.
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Under the new £20.5m investment secured for 2017-18, the trust said £10m will go towards recruiting over 300 more nursing and midwifery staff, 35 doctors and 25 allied health professionals.
A further £10m will be spent on essential capital estates building work at the Royal Oldham and North Manchester General Hospitals – with £5m going to each site.
In addition, a £2.5m investment has been earmarked to develop new hospital site-based infrastructure, as well as a £1m investment in IT and data information systems.
Smaller sums will also be spent on new medical and clinical equipment and staff training and development, according to a statement from the trust.
The new investment has been secured following support and agreement with the trust’s four local clinical commissioning groups – Bury, Oldham, North Manchester, Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale – and also with NHS England, NHS Improvement and the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership.
The latest investment comes on the back of the £9.2m it received from CCGs in August last year.
Much of that money has been spent on strengthening staffing in priority areas, including maternity, paediatrics and urgent care, as well as on new a nursing assessment and accreditation system for its hospital wards.
The system, adopted from Salford, is designed to support nursing staff to understand how they deliver care, identify what works well and where further improvements are needed for patients.
Sir David Dalton, chief executive of both Pennine and Salford, said: “As part of our improvement work, we have listened to our nursing staff who have told us that we need to increase our nursing and midwifery staffing levels on our wards to ensure staff are supported and that patients are getting the very best care they need.
Pennine plans to recruit 300 extra nurses and midwives
“I have accepted their recommendations and so £10m has been set aside to recruit over 300 more nursing and midwifery staff over the next few years across all of our hospital sites,” he said.
“This is a significant amount of money that is part of a financial commitment to support the trust’s improvement journey,” he said. “This funding recognises all of the hard work, changes and improvements that have been delivered by our staff at all levels over the last few months.”
He added: “The additional £10m of capital investment is also a significant commitment to begin the development of our hospital sites, firstly at the Royal Oldham Hospital and North Manchester General Hospital where both staff and patients will benefit.”