Staffing shortage with 58 job vacancies for registered nurses at the hospital

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Pilgrim Hospital currently has a ‘gap’ in the number of registered nurses on its books - with 58 vacancies still to be filled at the site.

A recruitment drive is under way to try to fill the positions with a scheme to promote working in the hospital and town at both a local and international level.

Regarding the staffing, deputy director of operations Tina White said: “At the moment we have got quite a lot of gaps and a lot of vacancies with our registered nurses.

“We are looking for qualified nurses who can hit the deck running. We have 58 registered nurses vacancies at the moment.

“Pilgrim has traditionally been a difficult place to recruit people to. We are on the east coast and there’s not an awful lot around us.

“We are trying to attract and keep young staff nurses that have just qualified but there’s not a lot round here to keep people. We don’t have the night life and we’re not a throbbing metropolis like London or some of the other big cities.”

She said ULHT has run some international recruitment campaigns.

Many were recruited in more recent years from Italy and Greece, but Ms White said a number had left when they realised they wanted to be based near to an airport so they could return home for weekends.

“We have got a short-term and medium-term plan we are developing,” she explained. “Part of the strategy is to recruit more people from the EU.

“Staff have also been out in Boston on weekends to recruit and encourage more nurses and medical staff to join Pilgrim.

“What we want to do longer term is recruit nurses internationally, going to places like India and the Philippines. We do know they tend to stay long-term and settle with families.”

Hospital bosses are also hoping to encourage more people back to nursing who, for example, may have left the profession after having children, or those who have retired.

“We can help with the registration fees and help them back to work,” said Ms White.

“Some other nurses who may be retired might want to consider returning for a couple of days a week for us, on their terms.

“We would encourage anyone who wants to come here and work with us.

“We do need to recruit doctors. We are always carrying vacancies with doctors and various specialists. A&E is our biggest pressure point. Nationally, it’s very difficult to recruit.”

In January 2014, there were 112 consultant vacancies for all the sites run by ULHT - but the figure has since been reduced to 45.

“I’m absolutely full of admiration for our staff,” said Ms White. “They are extremely dedicated and resilient. I couldn’t work with a better team than at Pilgrim.”

She added: “Morale is quite high now, and the last inspection noticed how much it had improved from the previous year.”