Hola and welcome to West Sussex!
New recruits from Europe are heading to work in West Sussex hospitals, after a hugely successful overseas recruitment drive.
So far 64 nurses have accepted offers to work for Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, most of them from Spain, and the first of them will be arriving within weeks.
They have all been given permanent jobs working on inpatient wards at St Richard’s and Worthing hospitals.
Over the last five years we have significantly increased the number of nurses and healthcare assistants on our wards
The Trust is working hard to recruit nursing staff even though its staffing numbers are already good in comparison with most.
There are significantly more nurses employed than when the Trust was formed in 2009, late last year the Board opted to spend £500,000 to increase staffing levels at night, and staff-to-patient ratios already match or exceed national standards.
Getting more permanent, experienced nursing staff is good news for patients, who will benefit from greater consistency of care, and from being looked after by staff who are able to get to know over time.
It will also mean that the Trust will be able to reduce the money spent employing agency staff, who can be an expensive option.
There is also a need to employ more nurses and healthcare assistants than in the past. Increasingly, as the population ages, hospital inpatients are very frail and so need far more care than was the case in the past, whilst advances in technology have extended the potential for nurses to develop their skills.
The new recruits are all highly-experienced nurses who have been carefully assessed not just for their professional skills, but also for their ability to communicate.
Nationally, experienced nursing staff are hard to recruit, although there is still a good supply of people completing training and looking for their first job in nursing – in late 2013 the Trust ran a very successful local recruitment drive for newly-qualified nurses, taking on 34 new staff.
Sandie Ellard, deputy director of nursing, said: “We are delighted that so many new colleagues will be joining us in the next few months, and we are really looking forward to welcoming them.
“Over the last five years we have invested heavily, and significantly increased the number of nurses and healthcare assistants on our wards.
“Our staffing numbers compare well with other hospitals, but we can still do more – our new colleagues will mean that we will have even more permanent staff, able to give patients the best possible care, and the Trust will be able to spend less on temporary staff.
“Our last really big overseas recruitment drive was more than 10 years ago now, in the Philippines, and many of those people are still with us today, having developed their skills and progressed their careers.”
The new staff were recruited following a recent visit to Bilbao by senior nurses at the Trust.