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Boston and Peterborough hospitals are looking to recruit hundreds of clinical roles as pressure mounts on the NHS

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'Significant staffing pressures’ due to Covid resulted in a critical incident being declared at the area’s major hospitals over the weekend - which are looking to recruit more than 100 nurses.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust, which runs Boston’s Pilgrim and Lincoln County Hospitals, is reported to have declared the incident on Saturday.

The trust, which also manages the Grantham and Louth sites, is running a campaign to recruit 100 nursing staff - a problem faced by many rural hospitals.

Pilgrim Hospital, Boston. (42971540)
Pilgrim Hospital, Boston. (42971540)

Trust leaders are reported to have called the critical incident, which allows them to call for help when it is feared critical services cannot be provided, on Saturday according to the Sunday Times.

Medical Director Dr Colin Farquharson said: “As a result of significant staffing pressures due to absence related to Covid-19, we are having to take additional steps to maintain services.

“Our staff continue to work exceptionally hard and we would like to reassure our patients and the public that in spite of the challenges faced, essential services remain fully open for anyone who needs them, so people should continue to come forward for care.

“People can help us to help them by getting their Covid booster vaccine to protect themselves and their families and reduce pressure on health services.”

The trust is looking to recruit 100 nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants.

Peterborough City Hospital, which also serves South Holland, is also recruiting for 324 clinical roles. The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn has reported a labour turnover of 11.6% in its recent board papers.

A spokesman said: “As one of the area’s largest employers, with a workforce of 7,000, plus bank staff, there will always be a need to recruit to vacant posts. This is the case across the NHS as a whole. Like other NHS Trusts, we have rolling campaigns for nursing and healthcare assistant recruitment, for example.”

Recruitment is a national issue for the NHS with latest figures reported to be 45,000 vacancies for nursing staff however pressures are seen in other clinical roles.

Currently it takes three years for a nurse to be trained at university with costs estimated to be between £50,000 and £70,000.

The Government offers a maintenance grant of £5,000 but no help is offered with tuition fees.

Previously trusts have recruited nurses from countries with high numbers of trained nurses but there is now a global shortage.

Some trusts have looked at providing other options to train up nurses such as apprenticeships.

A government spokesperson said:“We recognise the enormous pressure this pandemic has put on all NHS staff and the Prime Minister has thanked them for all their hard work.

“There are record numbers of doctors and nurses working in the NHS with over 5,100 more doctors and over 9,700 more nurses compared to last year, and we remain committed to delivering 50,000 more nurses in our NHS by the end of this Parliament.”

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