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Hospitals look abroad as Gloucestershire nursing shortage continues

By The Citizen  |  Posted: April 28, 2014

More nurses could be recruited from abroad to bolster hospital staffing pools, similar to the nurses from Portugal who began work in February. L to R; Amie Turner (24) from Gloucester, Tatiana Barroso (22) from Portugal, Ana Figueiredo (27) from Portugal, Abi Guy (24) from Gloucester, , Sara Fonseca (29) from Portugal, front; Kerry Cole (26) from Gloucester.

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Hospitals need to act now to stop a nursing crisis from putting patients in Gloucestershire at risk, it has been claimed.

Portuguese nurses have been parachuted in along with newly qualified students from the University of the West of England - but there is still a shortfall of qualified staff willing to work in Gloucestershire.

As a result, the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been forced to look abroad again. An overseas recruitment programme is likely to be launched next month.

The move follows comments from NHS England’s new chief executive Simon Stevens, who has called for trusts to ‘think like a patient, and act like a taxpayer’.

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Chief executive Dr Frank Harsent said trusts need to look abroad to learn from the way health care is delivered.

“Health care is more global now,” he said.

“We are going back out to overseas recruitment next month as there is not enough qualified nurses available to work in Gloucestershire. We don’t want to rely on bank staff and agencies to fill the gaps. We want to be attracting nurses who are of a high quality, that is a challenge.”

Care Quality Commission guidelines state wards must now publicly display staffing levels to show the level of care on duty.

Wards at both major county hospitals will display how many registered nurses and nursing assistants are on duty, how many patients are on the ward, how many specialists are working and how many students are on shift - as well as the name of the nurse in charge.

Maggie Arnold, director of nursing at the trust, said: “We are tying everything that we can to get more nurses in, that includes going out to universities and overseas. I cannot say we will fill every post, but we are trying our hardest.”

The trust failed to hit its target of treating patients within four hours at A&E, falling below the 95 per cent benchmark to 91.83 per cent in March.

Hospital admissions were down almost three per cent then when compared with the previous year.

GP referrals also increased by six per cent in March.

Medical director Dr Sean Elyan said: “Although the situation is clearly bad in Gloucestershire, it is a lot worse in hospitals elsewhere in the country.

“In some hospitals, 50 per cent of positions in acute medicine are going unfilled. “There is no doubt, we need to be in a much stronger position in two years time.”

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  • NeilBeckNHAP  |  May 16 2014, 11:43PM

    Successive years of underfunding training in the National Health Service has led to this crisis. The government is deliberately attempting to undermine the National Health Service so it can be sold off at a cut price to private companies (who also happen to fund their party.) We're attempting to fight these changes and take the NHS out of politicians hands and back into the public. Many thanks, Neil Beck National Health Action Party Candidate for St Pauls, Cheltenham Read more at: http://tinyurl.com/ojyurm7 Follow us on Facebook: https://http://tinyurl.com/k76jm2m And Twitter: https://twitter.com/GlosNHAP

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  • eddygooper  |  May 05 2014, 12:01PM

    Money is the best compensation for any offense, injustice or accident. Apart from the fact that you are able to buy what you want you get a dose of energy just receiving a pile of cash. http://tinyurl.com/pzgg7ax will provide you access to urgently needed cash.

  • TIMONLINE2010  |  April 29 2014, 11:55PM

    UKIP arn't about anti-immigration - they're about controlled immigration!

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  • Hadagmaja  |  April 29 2014, 9:11PM

    Newly qualified nurses start on band 5, only once they have recieved their registration number from the NMC. There are only a limited number of places on university courses and this is decided by the strategic health authority. Many people leave the courses after joining because it is tough, and so it should be! But also, many people leave the course because of financial reasons, the bursary is very low, and from what I understand new students joining for the last year have only a grant plus their student loan. I personally know of many health care assistants who have applied to do their nurse training but been turned down following marginal failings on English or Maths tests. The HCAs already have a fantastic amount of experience yet it seems sometimes that they have to jump through hoops if they want to progress their careers. There are other routes into nursing other than just applying to university, but it seems to me that a number of very good candidates are being turned down for the sake of getting a few questions wrong on a test!

  • raidermanuk  |  April 29 2014, 2:17AM

    JemmyWood - The starting salary for a fully qualified nurse is in fact £21,388. To put that into the context of starting salaries of graduates with other degrees it is 15th out of 41. For example business studies would have been £21,007, media studies £17,358 or Psychology £18,173. Had you daughter studied medicine then the average starting salary is £29,146. Go here for details http://tinyurl.com/mhahyp6

  • JemmyWood  |  April 28 2014, 10:54PM

    Jas37, yes she did. a+b did not equal C. You talk of student loan, maintenance grant, but you forget about the other debt accrued as well, for topping up accomodation fees, living expenses... That isnt covered by the student loan repayment scheme. It wasn't a viable career however you spin it.

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  • jas37  |  April 28 2014, 9:45PM

    Jemmywood, did your daughter calculate how much of the Fees she would actually have to repay?

  • berted  |  April 28 2014, 5:16PM

    If TIMONLINE2010 thought about it he would realise that we are a nation of immigrants: The Angles,Saxons, Romans, Normans and Vikings plus numerous others have all enriched our nation. UKIP is anti-immigration from whatever source.

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  • stuartadairuk  |  April 28 2014, 5:06PM

    I wish every success to the Gloucestershire NHS Trust in their search for vital NHS staff abroad. As we don't have British people with the right skills and experience then its absolutely right that we welcome workers from abroad. It is a great pity that we still have a huge number of people unemployed yet have to look abroad for NHS staff; we should be investing in training to address this skills gap. These highly skilled individuals are exactly the sort of people we should be welcoming at the expense of low skilled, manual labour who only succeed in driving down wages. Of course, whilst we're in the EU we simply don't have a choice about who comes here. Stuart Adair UK Independence Party (UKIP) Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Tewkesbury

  • TIMONLINE2010  |  April 28 2014, 4:36PM

    The EU and immigration are two separate issues. India (for example) isn't in Europe and yet there are many immigrants from there!

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