The region's troubled mental health trust is offering £3,000 'golden hellos' as it continues to struggle to fill vacancies.

The Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is trying to plug long-standing gaps in its workforce, despite managing to recruit more than 800 staff members in the past year.

Its vacancy rate of 10.6pc - meaning one in every 10 jobs are not filled - continues to be below national NHS targets.

However, the trust is hoping £3,000 'welcome bonuses' will help entice people into some of its more difficult-to-fill vacancies.

The 'golden hellos' are being offered for a number of roles currently being advertised by the trust - such as mental health nurses and senior practitioners.

It is hoped that filling its vacant roles will help the embattled trust improve care quality and reduce waiting lists, which NSFT continues to face scrutiny over.

Cath Byford, NSFT's chief people officer, said: “Offering welcome bonuses has been common practice across the NHS for many years.

"Like many other trusts, we offer incentives for posts which are harder to recruit to due to national shortages, which includes band 5 nursing roles.

"This helps to attract people from outside the region to relocate to Norfolk and Suffolk.

The trust currently employs 5,250 people overall, but has faced trouble both recruiting and retaining workers in recent years.

Mrs Byford added: “We regularly attend recruitment events and visit local schools, as well as running longer-term programmes to grow our own talent by offering apprenticeships and other career development opportunities to our existing staff.

"Thanks to this creativity, we recruited 860 new staff to NSFT last year, while our vacancy rates are slightly lower than the national average.

“We will continue to look for new and innovative ways to attract new people to our team in the future so that we can make sure our services are the best they possibly can be.”