Health bosses are looking to recruit nurses from Poland, as well as those who left the profession to have families, in a bid to boost staffing levels.
Speaking to the Spalding Guardian, deputy director of operations at United Lincolnshire’s Hospital Trust, which runs Pilgrim Hospital, Tina White said the body now has 200 nurse vacancies – across all of their sites.
She said: “The impact of this is that we have had to close some beds.”
She explained that 20 beds had been closed at Pilgrim Hospital in the last year including five paediatric beds.
She said about half of the vacancies will be filled come September, however, the trust is now looking at other ways to fill the rest – including recruiting internationally via online communications such as Skype.
They are also looking closer to home, using recruitment fairs in places such as Birmingham to attract migrant nurses who can now go through an adaptation course in Lincoln to bring their qualifications in line with UK standards.
Mrs White disputed ULHT had difficulty retaining staff, saying: “I think it’s the opposite.”
She said: “Once people come to Pilgrim, it’s a friendly place to work.”
“It’s a bit like a family and people say it’s very welcoming,” she added.
However, she admitted a number of Greek and Italian staff who joined 18 months ago had left after getting ‘experience and confidence’ at Pilgrim Hospital so that they could work in hospitals closer to better transport links and similar communities.
She said this was why this time the trust was approaching Polish nurses, saying: “We want to bring people from European countries where there is an ex-pat community for them to join, so there’s more of a feel of security within the local residents.”
The trust is also offering anyone who previously left an opportunity to return.
A return to practice course, which began on Monday, July 20, has already seen 11 former nurses begin their journey to become fully registered nurses. The course allows those who left to ‘catch up’ on changes since their departure.
l For more information visit www.ulh.nhs.uk