Ongoing battle to find hospital staff

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Shock new figures show the difficulty Wigan’s health service has in recruiting staff.

The statistics reveal that the North West has consistently had the highest number of job vacancies in the NHS than any other health education region.

In March 2016, NHS organisations across the region were published adverts for 3,173, 19 per cent higher than the next highest health education region of Kent, Surrey and Sussex.

This meant in total, 9,377 full-time equivalent positions were currently being advertised for at the end of March 2016 and between January and March 2016, only 1,102 of those were filled.

The majority of vacancies were for nursing and midwifery staff, with 3,726 vacancies in the North West between January and March.

But a spokesman for Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) has said that despite experiencing difficulties recruiting medical and nursing staff in the past few years, it currently had only six per cent of nursing positions vacant.

The number of vacanicies for medical staff was higher but the spokesman said recruitment is ongoing.

“Recruitment of nursing and medical staff has been something of a challenge nationally in recent years,” the spokesman said.

“In addition to our traditional recruitment methods, we have held open days, used radio to broadcast recruitment adverts and undertaken International Recruitment Projects.

“These initiatives have really boosted our recruitment position.

“In addition, we host a number of academic programmes within several specialities to attract medical staff to the Trust.

“These programmes offer the opportunity to study while obtaining work experience.

“We also utilise social media to support our recruitment advertising and are currently exploring other options to take further advantage of this powerful tool.

“Our vacancy situation as at 31 July was 66.94 whole time equivalent (WTE) band 5 staff nurses. However, we are fortunate to have 50.9 WTE nurses currently in our recruitment pipeline; this leaves a net figure of 16.04 WTE vacancies – just six per cent of our established positions. Medical vacancies are 28.29 WTE with recruitment ongoing.”