A quarter of posts are empty at the hospital

By Siobhan Fletcher   |   Reporter   |
Saturday 23rd July 2022 12:00 pm
@siobhanfletcher
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Noble's Hospital, Isle of Man -

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Nearly a quarter of nursing posts in the island are currently vacant, according to figures provided by Manx Care.

The revelation was made at this week’s Tynwald sitting on Tuesday (July 19).

The Speaker of the House of Keys and Rushen MHK, Juan Watterson, asked the health minister: ‘How many full time equivalent (a) doctors and (b) nurses are in permanent employment within Noble’s Hospital’.

In response, Health Minister Lawrie Hooper revealed: ‘Manx Care’s structure is based on care groups, which aim to provide integrated care from combined hospital and community teams, rather than [at] specific locations.

‘Whilst some individual services or posts may be identifiable as hospital based, it’s not possible to run a report based on posts or staff groups’ physical location – such as Noble’s Hospital.

‘I can advice there are 240.66 budgeted full-time equivalent posts for doctors, of which 169.29, or approximately 70% are filled.

‘There are 576.54 registered nurse posts, of which 439.33, or approximately 76%, are filled.

Mr Watterson also asked what the expected establishment level [of staffing] is based on workforce planning and budget; what plans Mr Hooper has to improve the situation; and what his timetable is for doing so.

Mr Hooper said: ‘In 2022/23 Manx Care aimed to recruit between 80 and 100 international registered nurses via a contract with [the Global Training Education Centre] GTEC, although it is important to acknowledge that many parts of the world are short of registered nurses, and competition for these recruits will be intense.

‘In 2023/24, Manx Care aim to recruit a further 100 international registered nurses via GTEC.’

Mr Hooper also stated that Manx Care are ‘committed to growing their own team’, with 28 island residents signed up to train here on the island from September this year, with a view to expand this programme to allow for a larger cohort of students in the future.

The service is also exploring international recruitment for midwives, and are exploring ways midwifery trainees can access training and bursary support.

In a separate question, Mr Watterson asked the Health Minister on how many occasions during 2022 Noble’s Hospital has been unable to fully meet safe staffing levels as issued by the Nursing and Midwifery Council, and what plans he has to improve the situation.

Mr Hooper stated that the Nursing and Midwifery Council do not issue safe staffing levels.

He did, however say that: ‘Manx Care would view any instance where staffing levels are lower than planned as being potentially unsafe.’

He stated that Manx Care monitors nurse-to-patient ratio at least three times a day to assess safety of staffing.

Mr Hooper revealed that actual registered nurse staffing hours have been lower than planned for every month in 2022 for at least some clinical areas.

He said: ‘Being short of staff does not necessarily mean staffing is unsafe, staffing contingencies are used to mitigate risks.’

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