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‘Significant’ nurse recruitment boost for mental health trust

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A total of 14 newly-qualified mental health nurses have started work at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, helping it reduce reliance on agency staff.

The new nurses have joined the trust’s adult central acute services, which includes the Thurne, Waveney, Rollesby and Glaven Wards at Hellesdon Hospital in Norwich.

“It represents a significant increase in recruitment and means nearly all of our vacancies have now been filled”

Charlie Loades

The appointments mean that vacancies within the acute service have “nearly been filled”, said the trust, adding that it would help it reduce the use of agency staff.

During their first two weeks in post, the staff will complete an “extensive” induction programme, after which they will begin caring for patients.

The induction covers life support, physiological and physical health, personal safety, carers awareness and e-learning, as well as specialist training on aggression prevention and management.

The nurses will also be offered any additional training they may need, which is specific to their wards, said the trust.

In addition, during their first year, they will attend preceptorship sessions at the trust’s “newly-qualified nursing academy” and receive support from colleagues interested in staff development.

As well as the nurses, a social worker and five other members of staff have also been recruited.

Charlie Loades, acting deputy matron based at Hellesdon Hospital, said: “To have 14 new nurses and a social worker joining our team is incredibly exciting and fantastic for our service, as it represents a significant increase in recruitment and means nearly all of our vacancies have now been filled.

“Nearly all of the new recruits completed placements within adult central acute services, so it is a testament to the welcome they received and their experiences on the wards that they have chosen to come back to start their nursing journeys with us,” she said.

“We have arranged a very extensive induction… to ensure our new colleagues have all of the tools in place to set them up for the rest of their lives,” she added.

“Their appointment will help reduce our use of agency staff”

Dawn Collins

Dawn Collins, the trust’s deputy director of nursing, said: “We are delighted to welcome these new recruits. Their appointment will help reduce our use of agency staff, which means our patients will receive continuity of care from an established team of permanent staff.”

The trust’s head of human resources, Sarah Ball, recently noted that attracting staff to what were “often perceived (wrongly) as holiday or retirement destinations is not easy”, but added that the organisation was ”doing well”.

“While we very slightly exceeded our agency ceiling in 2016-17, we reduced spend by £4.2m, she said in a blog for NHS Employers.

She noted that, among the trust’s “next steps”, was the development of a plan to “stop agency use altogether”. Ms Ball also highlighted that the organisation used NHS Professionals for the provision of all its bank roles.

According to the trust’s board papers for July, the overall clinical vacancy rate in May was 12% and total agency spend was £818,000.

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