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Hospital takes to social media pleading staff to work extra

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The Chesterfield Royal Hospital took to social media this week asking staff to work extra so it could staff its new ’emergency’ ward.

Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust took to Facebook on New Year’s day asking for qualified nurses, healthcare assistants and care support workers who could work extra shifts starting immediately.

The trust admitted that the post was in response to the busiest New Year’s Day the had ever seen with unprecedented amounts of “people needing to stay in hospital for urgent medical care” – explaining that they had the ability to open an ’emergency’ ward but needed staff to open it.

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Finally, the trust thanked the staff who were already working Christmas and New Year for their hard work and dedication.

In their statement on Facebook the Trust said;

“Can you help by offering to work? It’s an unusual New Year’s Day appeal but we’re seeking qualified nurses, health care assistants and care support workers who could work extra shifts starting from this evening. It’s in response to the busiest January 1 we’re experiencing – probably on record. Patient admissions are at high levels with people needing to stay in hospital for urgent medical care. We have the ability to use beds on our ’emergency’ ward – Portland – which is ready for use, if we can get staff in to support it. It’s much better to run additional beds with our own expert nursing and care teams, to make sure that even with this level of demand our patients will get the best possible care from experienced staff who know the hospital. If you can help by working, especially at late notice tonight, call the switchboard 277271 and ask for the on site Matron. They’re also experiencing high volumes of calls so keep holding and they will pick up, they are doing a great job answering calls from anxious relatives with loved ones in hospital. And A MASSIVE THANK YOU to everyone who has been working over the Christmas and New Year holidays. It’s been incredibly busy and we absolutely appreciate the amazing job you’ve done in clinical and support roles. We know it’s been tough and challenging and your teamwork has been incredible”.

Education

£200 million NHS training budget could be lost to the private sector

Around a third of NHS trusts are paying apprentices just £3.90 per hour – the statutory minimum rate.

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NHS hospital corridor

Money paid by NHS trusts is now being “clawed back by the government”.

More than £200m is lying unused by cash-strapped health trusts in England because of restrictions in the Government’s apprenticeship levy scheme.

The restrictions mean that money from the levy can only be used to fund training costs and not salaries – meaning already cash-strapped organisations are unable to recruit additional staff.

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Around a third of NHS trusts are paying apprentices just £3.90 per hour – the statutory minimum rate.

According to the UNISON report, It Doesn’t Add Up, 79% of the levy money is yet to be used and warns that if this trend continues substantial NHS funding will be lost.

Levy money not spent after two years is reallocated to a central Government pot and used to subsidise apprenticeships for smaller employers – who don’t have to pay into the levy. This means cash from NHS budgets being diverted into the private sector.

Millions sat idle while there are 100,000 vacancies.

UNISON is now calling for the Government to change the rules so levy funding can also be spent on apprentice salaries and the wages of staff employed to cover for apprentices when they are training.

They have also suggested that the money could be used to fund a new extensive apprenticeship programme across the entire NHS for nursing and all the other health professions experiencing shortages.

Sara Gorton, Head of Health at UNISON, said; “Hundreds of millions of pounds are sitting idle at a time when budgets are stretched and there are 100,000 vacancies across the NHS,”.

“There are real concerns about the standard of training apprentices receive, with many carrying out administrative and clinical support roles for peanuts. Ministers must reform the system to ensure money allocated to the health service stays within the NHS and invest properly to ensure apprenticeships play a full role in solving the growing staffing crisis.”

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Health Politics

Bill calling for safer staffing legislation put before Parliament

There are now 43,671 vacant nursing posts throughout the NHS in England alone.

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Maria Caulfield

The Bill will seek to “establish legally enforceable nursing staffing levels in the NHS in England.”

Maria Caulfield, Conservative MP for Lewes, nurse and member of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), today brought a Bill designed “to establish legally enforceable nursing staffing levels in the NHS in England.”

The Bill comes as nursing vacancy rates hit a record high with 43,671 empty nursing posts in the NHS in England alone – leaving 12% of full-time nursing posts unfilled.

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In a report released today titled ‘Standing up for patient and public safety’, the RCN highlights the impact the nursing staffing crisis is having on patient safety.

Scotland recently secured new legislation on safe staffing and a nurse staffing law was introduced in Wales in 2016.

‘No one is responsible and no one is accountable’.

Ms Cauldfield said; “There is increasing evidence that the right number of qualified nurses can improve patient outcomes in terms of mortality, morbidity and quality of care and that conversely, an insufficient number of nurses can have a potentially life-threatening effect for patients.”

Presenting the primary aim of the Bill as; “to make the Government accountable for nursing levels in England, as currently no one is accountable for nursing levels in England and that is why we have such a high nursing vacancy rate.”

Before adding that the other aims of the Bill were ensuring the NHS has “a fully costed workforce strategy and nursing numbers” alongside ensuring training and development for nurses throughout their career.

Cauldfield controversially voted against scrapping the pay cap for NHS workers in 2017.

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