Vacancies fall to record low at hospital

Plans are in place to cope with the expected surge in demand over winter at the Queen Elizabeth Hosp

Plans are in place to cope with the expected surge in demand over winter at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Nurse vacancies have fallen to a record low at a Norfolk hospital.

Staff shortages were among the concerns flagged up by health watchdog the Care Quality Commission, when it placed the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn into special measures 18 months ago.

But since the end of August, a new recruitment campaign has seen vacant nursing posts fall from 198 to 51 - a record low vacancy rate for the hospital of just 5.2pc.

QEH Chief Nurse Libby McManus said: "It is fantastic news that our vacancy rate for qualified nurses has reached an all time low. It has been a real team effort to achieve this result. We look forward to working with our new recruits and welcoming them to the QEH and local area and are keen to see them develop and grow with us in King's Lynn.

"There are many factors behind our recruitment success, including our focus on recruiting internationally. We also have strong partnership working with local universities and colleges to attract both student nurses and apprentices.

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"Our recruitment success will go a long way to improving staff morale and in turn will lead to further improvements to the care we provide to the patients and families we serve.

"As well as reducing our vacancy rate, we are also working hard on retaining our existing nursing staff. We have created easier ways for people to transfer between similar roles, encouraging them to stay in King's Lynn and develop with us at team QEH."

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The hospital said it had had international recruitment success, with 140 nurses arriving from the Philippines and India.

And in October, the Trust launched a high profile recruitment campaign to attract people to come and live and work in West Norfolk, promoting the QEH and local area as a place where you can enjoy the best of work, and the best of life.

The CQC upheld the QEH's rating of inadequate during a follow-up inspection in July, criticising its reliance on agency staff. But senior managers insist improvements are now under way.

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