Around 50 European Union nurses could soon be working at East and North Hertforshire Trust, which is working with NHS Professionals to recruit them on “flexible work contracts”.
The trust has been trying to reduce its overall agency spend with some success but has seen agency spending increase in the last couple of months.
The trust had agreed a trajectory of 20% reduction in agency spend for 2012-13 financial year, which ended on 31 March.
But it said agency nursing expenditure continued to be significant at £222,000 in February and £229,000 in January. This was higher than the average monthly expenditure of £109,000 for the first nine months of the 2012-13 financial year.
Board papers for March stated: “The trust is working in partnership with NHS Professionals to recruit 50wte nurses on flexible work contracts from relevant EU countries.”
Meanwhile, permanent recruitment activity is focused on band 5 nurses and clinical support workers. In the last 12 months the trust has recruited 555 whole time equivalent, but 533 have left.
In February, 24 registered nurse vacancies were advertised, but only seven candidates were invited to interview and five candidates appointed.
“This was mainly due to a reduction in the number of applications and the quality of the candidates,” the report said.
It added that 13.2 whole time equivalent registered nurses were due to start throughout March, and a further 10 in April or May. A further 14 whole time equivalent clinical support workers were due to start throughout March.