Cumbria Crack

Recruitment drive results in upturn in staffing levels at Morecambe Bay Health Trust

David Wilkinson – Director of Workforce

The number of Consultants and Nurses employed at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) continues to rise thanks to the Trust’s creative approach to recruitment.

A total of 124 new nurses have been recruited since the beginning of April 2019 and the Trust is on course to significantly increase that number by the end of March 2020. In addition to this, 19 new Consultants have been appointed since the start of April.

Safety and quality of care for patients will be enhanced by the new members of staff working in posts across North Lancashire and South Cumbria.

By taking a proactive approach, the Trust has achieved 135% of the Consultant recruitment target and 81% of the Nursing recruitment target it set itself for 2019 to 2020.

The recruitment programme has included social media campaigns featuring current employees talking about the benefits of working and living in the Morecambe Bay area to support recruitment of nurses, therapists, palliative care and radiology. There has also been a focus on recruiting and supporting the development Speciality and Associate Specialist (SAS) doctors, Nursing and close collaboration with recruitment partners, including Health Education England (HEE) to increase staffing levels.

Lyn Hadwin, Head of Workforce Delivery for UHMBT, said: “We have used a wide variety of initiatives to recruit and retain the staff we need to deliver care that is safe and of the highest possible quality.

“Our staff turnover remains below both the national average and that of other NHS Trusts locally. This means that since the start of April our net gain is over 94 nurses, making a real difference to front-line staffing levels.

“We have been using international recruitment for a number of years to boost our supply of nurses, and our supportive approach and pastoral care helps the individuals settle, stay and enjoy a good career and life here.

“One of the alternative routes to securing the right level of senior medical expertise in areas of key national shortages is by recruiting doctors to Speciality and Associate Specialist (SAS) posts and supporting their development through the Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration CESR). This means training and developing doctors to acquire competence and accreditation to work at Consultant-level and obtain full qualification as a Consultant. This training support is a major draw for Doctors.

“With this offer of supported development, the Trust has seen a significant reduction in the vacancies for SAS roles, as they have reduced from 10% in April to 2% in October.

“We have been working with Health Education England on their ethical and sustainable international recruitment campaign, called ‘Global Learners: Earn, Learn and Return’. Through this scheme, nursing and medical professionals from countries such as India come to work for us for three years and receive training before returning to their own country within enhanced skills.

“Our appointment of Global Fellows in Radiologists, in partnership with Apollo Hospitals in India, Health Education England the Royal College of Radiologists, has been so successful that we have been asked to lead the programme for all NHS Trusts in England.

“We also have a ‘Return to Practice’ scheme for Allied Health Professions and Nurses who have been out of the profession for a time, to return to practice.”

David Wilkinson, Director of People and OD at UHMBT, said: “Our aims are to permanently recruit colleagues into posts where possible, to reduce our reliance on agency staff and to ensure that we are a great place to work and a great place to be cared for. We have responded to the significant national shortages in key professions through innovative practices and approaches, which are now starting to pay dividends.”

The Trust’s recruitment site can be found at:

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