100 Filipino nurses to fill hospital vacancies

Royal Blackburn Hospital.
Royal Blackburn Hospital.

100 nurses have been recruited from the Philippines and are set to start work at hospitals in Burnley and Blackburn later this year in a bid to help combat a shortage of staff.

At the latest meeting of East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust board, chief nurse Mrs Christine Pearson told members 97 job offers had been accepted but she said nurse staffing had continued to be challenging due to winter pressures and the opening of escalation wards.

Mrs Pearson also cited vacancies, maternity leave, sickness and absence levels, limited co-ordinators on daylight shifts and the ability to match demand for nurses with bank and agency staff.

But she stressed the shortages had not impacted on patient care.

She said: “No harms have been identified within the divisions as a consequence of staffing. The actual and planned staffing levels do not reflect the levels of acuity, bed occupancy or, in family care, the amount of women in labour.”

She added further nurse recruitment days were planned for this week.

“Following the Trust visit to the Philippines in August this year to recruit nurses, 97 offers of employment have been accepted and these candidates are now undertaking the required tests prior to applying for their visas to enable them to come over and work for the Trust in 2016.

“Staffing continues to be challenging and active recruitment is on-going alongside robust sickness and absence management and the movement of staff.”