Two acute trusts in Lincolnshire that were taken out of special measures after recruiting scores of nurses have slid back to their old staffing levels, according to workforce analaysis.
United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust and the neighbouring North Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust were among the 11 providers placed in special measures in 2013 after a review by NHS England medical director Sir Bruce Keogh.
“The number of substantive nurses has fallen since last year as we struggle to replace the staff who leave”
Monthly data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre for 2013-14, 2014-15 and the first quarter of 2015-16 shows both trusts had significant year-on-year falls in substantive nurse headcount after exiting special measures.
United Lincolnshire left the regime in March and North Lincolnshire exited in July 2014.
- Lincolnshire hospital trust taken out of ’special measures’ regime
- George Eliot and North Lincs trusts taken out of ’special measures’
In the first quarter of 2013-14, immediately after being put in special measures, United Lincolnshire employed 2,202 nurses. During the same period in 2014-15 the figure was 2,312 – an increase of 5%.
But the latest data – analysed by Nursing Times’ sister title Health Service Journal – shows a fall of slightly more than 5% by the same period in 2015-16, when 2,193 nurses were employed.
Over the whole of 2014-15, its spending on agency staff was £21.6m, up from £21.3m the previous year.
Pauleen Pratt, chief nurse at the trust, said: “The turnover of nurses and midwives remains constant. The number of substantive nurses has fallen since last year as we struggle to replace the staff who leave, particularly at Pilgrim Hospital, Boston.”
The problems come despite the board investing an extra £500,000 on nursing staff last December. The organisation hoped to recruit 39 registered nurses and 26 unregistered with the money.
In October, the trust recruited 20 nurses from Poland and Romania, a spokeswoman said.
Meanwhile, in the first quarter of 2013-14 North Lincolnshire employed 1,688 nurses. During the same period in 2014-15 the figure was 1,775 – also an increase of 5%.
But there was a fall of 4.1% by the same period in 2015-16, when 1,702 nurses were employed.
Over the whole of 2014-15, the trust’s spending on agency staff was £21.4m, up from £15.3m the previous year.
The trust said that until the announcements by the health secretary on agency staffing in June, it had not monitored how much of its spending was with more expensive off-framework agencies and had used its own “evaluation matrix” to assign shifts.