The number of vacancies has reached almost a thousand at the main hospital trust serving Brighton and Hove.
A new report said there were 972 unfilled posts, giving a vacancy rate of 11.8 per cent at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals.
The vacancies included 429 nursing posts, with the acute floor at the Royal Sussex County Hospital being one of the areas worst affected.
The trust runs the Royal Sussex, the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital and the Sussex Eye Hospital among others.
A report to the trust board today (Wednesday 26 July) said: “Workforce capacity did not meet the total funded establishment in the month by 972 FTE (full-time equivalents) giving the trust a vacancy rate of 11.8 per cent.
“The highest proportion of vacancies is seen within nursing (429 FTE), particularly the speciality medicine and acute floor directorates.
“There are also 322 FTE of vacancies across the admin and clerical and ancillary support staff groups, with nearly half of these being within Facilities.
“The number of substantive staff employed has decreased by 72 FTE over the previous 12 months while the budgeted establishment FTE has increased by 285 over the same period. The impact of this has been a 4 per cent increase in vacancy rate in the last year.
“Recruiting and retention remains a key priority. The Recruitment and Retention Working Group has refreshed an updated action plan to include all activities being undertaken.
“The working group have identified a possible 103 different activities within six main themes which are: strategy, attraction, recruitment, retention, recognition and development.
“The working group are prioritising activities into short term (under 100 days) medium term (101 days to nine months) and long term (nine months plus).
“On (Friday) 7 July an HCA (healthcare assistant) one-stop recruitment day was held and 29 candidates were offered positions.
“On (Thursday) 13 July a qualified nurse recruitment event was held and 22 candidates have been offered posts.
“Further dates are being arranged which will combine HCAs and band 5 nurses. Further bespoke work is planned with Facilities and Estates.
“Over the previous 12 months, bank spend has averaged £1.3 million per month and agency spend has averaged £900,000 per month.
“Bank spend is averaging £100,000 more per month than it was in June 2016 but average agency spend has reduced by £350,000 per month over the same period, suggesting a total reduction of £3 million in spend across the entire 12-month period.
“If bank spend is looked at by staff group, it shows the mix is 73 per cent nursing, 12 per cent medical and 15 per cent other staff whereas agency spend is 28 per cent nursing, 28 per cent medical and 44 per cent other staff.”
The board was told that 600 former staff have been contacted to ask them whether they would consider returning to nursing at the trust.
The trust has a turnover rate of more than 14 per cent compared with a national rate of 12 per cent.
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