A major staffing crisis across Teesside’s two hospital Trusts has been brought into focus with the revelation that they are short of more than a hundred doctors and nurses, and the Government is failing to recruit and train enough according to Stockton North MP, Alex Cunningham.
The new information, acquired by the Royal College of Nursing, shows a huge dependency on doctors, nurses and other clinical staff from outside the European Union – there are 559 non-EU staff, of whom 493 are in frontline clinical roles.
The figures for the North Tees and Hartlepool and the South Tees NHS Foundation Trusts were uncovered following Freedom of Information requests from the Royal College of Nursing. And the College has also revealed that, contrary to claims from the Government, the number of nurse training places is going down not up and Trusts are fighting a losing battle to recruit.
The Chief Executive of Health Education England recently confirmed to the Health Service Journal that, contrary to Government claims that nursing places are being increased, funding cuts by the Treasury mean they can no longer afford to commission them.
“I know that the Trusts go as far afield as the Philippines to recruit suitably trained staff and, while they deliver an excellent service to British patients, they wouldn’t be needed if we trained enough people at home.
“The figures revealed by the Royal College of Nursing, and the revelation that training places are being reduced, are extremely worrying and fly the face of the claims made by the Government that more home grown clinical staff are being recruited. And they come on top of the Chancellor’s reckless decision to scrap bursaries for training nurses and replace them with student loans.
“Just this week, we learned that staffing issues were much to blame for the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust being found to be needing improvement in some of its services. If they can’t get the staff they need and the budgets to pay for them, they are in a very difficult position.”