A Derbyshire mental health trust is being forced to recruit band 6 nurses to fill roles due to a chronic shortage of band 5 nurses.
Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust stated that it did not see the need to employ band 6 nurses where band 5s could be in post, but indicated that it was having to do so due to staff shortages.
This information was released via the trusts board papers.
The strategy of recruiting more band 6 nurses goes against its skill mix policy of having equal numbers of band 5 and band 6 nurses, the trust admitted in its papers, which said a “band 5 skill set is important within the neighbourhood teams”.
But the trust warned that this type of substitution may continue due to fewer nurses training in the area, following the removal of student bursaries.
The papers go on to say that “The lack of availability of band 5 nurses has led to translation of band 5 resource into band 6 in order to support recruitment”.
Executive director of Nursing for Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Carolyn Green, said; “Similar to colleagues working nationwide, the trust has recently experienced difficulties in recruiting appropriately trained staff to some of our clinical posts".
“We are committed to empowering our managers to staff their teams effectively, within an agreed framework,” and ”In order to achieve this, we are on occasion flexible with the level of post we appoint to, according to an individual’s skills and experience.
“For example, this can include recruiting more band 6s at periods when we have a high number of appointable applicants and more band 5s during periods when recruiting newly qualified members of staff. This approach enables the trust to ensure it has a range of appropriately qualified staff and reduces any unnecessary agency expenditure,” added Ms Green.