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One in 10 nursing posts in Cumbria sitting vacant

Published on: Monday 11th December 2017

Almost 350 nursing posts across Cumbria are currently unfilled, latest figures reveal.

It means, on average, one in 10 posts are vacant.

Recruitment difficulties have long been an issue in the county, making it difficult to staff hospitals and health services in all sectors - from inpatient wards to mental health.

But efforts are underway to address it, ranging from overseas appointments to innovative recruitment campaigns.

One of the latest ideas is to seek out former nurses whose registration has lapsed - of which it is believed there are many across the county - and encourage them to return to practice.

One Cumbrian community group, in a bid to help staff its local hospital, is even offering a £500 bursary to those who sign up, regardless of whereabouts they end up working.

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and and West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven, currently has the highest proportion of vacancies - with 12.5 per cent of its total nursing posts currently unfilled.

To put that into context, the hospitals need the equivalent of 115 more full time nursing staff. The trust stressed that it recently decided to up its optimum staffing levels on wards, increasing vacancy rates.

The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Furness General in Barrow and the Westmorland General at Kendal, currently has 10 per cent of its total nursing posts sitting vacant - the equivalent of 149 full time staff.

The Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which runs community and mental health services, has a seven per cent vacancy across all of its services, equating to 83 full time staff needed.

Of these, 38 vacancies are in the community, 27 in mental health, nine in children/family services and nine specialist posts.

Craig Melrose, associate medical director for community services across Cumbria, said recruitment is a top priority.

Craig Melrose

People from across Cumbria have been using photography to highlight what is great about the county in a bid to attract new health staff to the area.

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