90 newly-qualified nurses set to start work at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital

A nurse. Photo: PA

A nurse. Photo: PA - Credit: PA

Ninety newly-qualified nurses are set to start work at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (N&N) later this year.

The trust currently has 130 vacancies for junior nurses, and director of workforce Jeremy Over said filling 90 of the positions would be 'significant' progress.

He explained that the number may alter slightly if nurses decided to work at a different trust before their start date.

But Emma McKay, director of nursing, told yesterday's board meeting that recruitment had been more successful than in previous years as they had brought interviews forward to February, helping them to recruit talented graduates from the UEA course.

Anna Dugdale, the hospital's chief executive, said the trust's apprenticeship scheme had also proved a success.

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Eight apprentices had started on a new scheme this month, and when all schemes are taken into consideration the N&N was 'leading the charge' across the east of England with more than double the number of apprenticeships of any other trust.

'The apprenticeship scheme is proving to be more popular than we thought,' she said.

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Meanwhile the A&E department saw fewer acute admissions in March than in January and February, alleviating some of the pressure.

Professor Krishna Sethia, medical director, said one never event was recorded at the trust in February – a serious incident that is wholly preventable.

He said that a 3mm-long piece of surgical equipment was left in a patient's eye after an operation. The incident was reviewed and procedures checked.

'All bits of all instruments are counted, no matter how small,' he said. 'The patient came to no harm.'

The meeting heard that staff sickness remained high at the trust, but it had not increased.

A dignity and respect survey got 95% positive feedback, with most of the negative feedback relating to communication with patients.

The trust was still operating with an £8.7m deficit.

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