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Progress being made on nurse recruitment, says board facing vacancy challenge

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More than a hundred new nurses have been recruited by NHS Grampian, though the area still requires hundreds more.

A total of 186 extra nursing and midwifery staff have joined the wards over the last year, the health board announced earlier this week.

“It is crucial we continue to innovate and try things outside of the traditional recruitment methods”

Annie Ingram

However, despite the increase, NHS Grampian admitted that around 400 nurse and midwife vacancies remained to be filled.

The figures were revealed at a board meeting on Thursday, during which members were asked to approve a new workforce action plan that pledges to continue the recruitment drive.

NHS Grampian also confirmed that, during 2015, its total workforce rose to 14,442 people, an increase of 1.25%.

Dr Annie Ingram, the health board’s workforce director, said the organisation had made significant strides forward in its effort to attract new recruits but that there were still too many vacancies.

“Like other public sector organisations in Grampian, we face challenges in recruiting,” she said. “That is particularly the case for nursing and some medical roles.

“Despite recruiting an extra 186 nurses over the last year – and that’s on top of replacing those who have retired or left the organisation – we still have too many vacancies,” she said.

“At the moment, for example, there are around 400 vacant nursing and midwifery posts and it is crucial we continue to innovate and try things outside of the traditional recruitment methods in order to fill those with skilled professionals,” said Dr Ingram.

She added that the board had out a “huge amount of effort” into attracting former nurses back into the profession over the last year via a return to practice scheme run with Robert Gordon University.

However, she noted that in the long-term, the board would need to attract clinicians from “further afield”, either elsewhere in the UK or from abroad.

Recruitment from outside of the region was a challenge due to high cost of housing in the oil-rich North East of Scotland, she said, highlighting plans to “key worker accommodation” for 200 staff.

Dr Ingram said the proposal to build the key worker accommodation was at an advanced stage with a formal planning application for 110 houses due to go before Aberdeen City Councillors shortly.

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