Shortage of nurses in region revealed as health organisations celebrate International Nursing Day
- Credit: PA
Almost 500 nursing posts across the region's hospitals are vacant, amid concerns nationally over the shortage of medical staff in the NHS.
Health bosses today paid tribute to the thousands of dedicated nurses who remain the bedrock of the health service, while practitioners themselves encouraged the public to consider working in the profession.
It comes as hospitals across the world celebrate International Nursing Day – and in the wake of a new report by a group of MPs that blames bad planning and cost-cutting for the staff shortage.
The report, produced by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), also said there had been 'no coherent attempt' to work out the staffing needed for the government's vision of a seven-day NHS.
A Department of Health spokesman said there were 23,000 more clinical staff caring for patients now compared to 2010.
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While the (PAC's) report also includes doctors and midwives, our own region's nursing shortage has been laid bare, with current figures revealing:
- 195 vacancies at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
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- 173 whole time equivalent registered nursing post vacancies at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.
- 65 vacancies at James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
- 61 vacancies at Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn NHS Foundation Trust.
- 38 vacancies at West Suffolk Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
Vacancies include registered nurse specialists in areas such as cardiology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, neurology or endoscopy and clinical research.
While senior directors said the trusts are running recruitment programmes to attract new staff, nurses themselves described their jobs as extremely rewarding.
Mark Varley, a nurse at North Walsham Community Hospital which is run by Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust (NCH&C), said: 'I love working with a passionate team who are dedicated to providing the highest possible standards of care. I'm proud that we enable patients to return home following some rehabilitation.'
And Zimbabwean nurse Lindi Ldlovu, who works at Norwich Community Hospital (also run by NCH&C), added: 'I love being a nurse – you can help make people feel better, and are there at their time of need.'
Emma McKay, director of nursing at the N&N, said: 'Celebrating International Nurses Day is a great way to reflect on what makes us proud to be nurses and how our roles help and support patients and their families and carers.
'It's a chance for our patients and visitors to thank the nurses.'
Anna Morgan, director of nursing and quality of Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust, celebrated the day by visiting St James Clinic, King's Lynn, and Dereham Hospital.
She said: 'All of our nurses work so hard to deliver a high standard of care to people in their homes and in our community hospitals, and we want them to know how much they are appreciated. I'm proud of all of them.'
Pick up a copy of today's Eastern Daily Press or Norwich Evening News to read the thoughts of many nurses across the region about why they chose their profession.
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