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30 new nurses to join East Lancs hospitals' staff
10:57am Tuesday 19th March 2013 in News
EAST Lancashire’s hospitals have been given a boost after 30 new registered nurses were signed up.
Bosses said the new recruits would replace expensive agency staff at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, as well as filling existing vacancies and helping out at busy times.
The nurses, who the trust says are all British and recently qualified from the University of Central Lancashire, will be spread across the medicine divisions at the Royal Blackburn and Burnley General hospitals – particularly the emergency department, urgent care centre, cath lab, medical admissions unit and respiratory wards.
They will add to the trust’s 3,340-strong nursing staff.
Chief nurse Lynn Wissett said: “I would like to welcome the new nurses to the trust and congratulate them on becoming newly qualified. “They have shown enormous commitment, application and dedication in their studies to pass their final exams and will be an asset to the trust.”
The average cost per hour for an employed Band 5 nurse is £12.99, while an agency nurse costs nearly three times more at £32.70 per hour.
Recent trust board papers noted the ‘flexibility’ offered by agency and bank staff, but added: “There is a need to limit expenditure in this area and maximise existing resources to control spend on temporary staffing.”
There has since been a drive to make better use of internal resources and ‘improve the controls’ for booking temporary staff. Last year the Taxpayers’ Alliance lobby group raised concerns about the use of temporary staff in East Lancashire, saying it had become an ‘expensive habit that is costing taxpayers dear’.
However, the trust’s HR boss, David Smithson said the spend represented just 4.7 per cent of the annual pay bill and this had been reduced by establishing an inhouse staff bank, to cut out agency fees. He said temporary staff were essential for covering vacancies, short term absence and bringing in specific skills, but acknowledged the need to balance that with cost.