NHS in Cumbria looks to find innovative ways to tackle recruitment problems

  • Watch as Kieran Macfadzean explores the new way the NHS is recruiting in Cumbria.

The NHS in Cumbria is looking at new ways to tackle the nation-wide recruitment problems plaguing the service.

Currently there are around 150 job vacancies in the NHS in north Cumbria with new methods being used to fill the positions. This includes a new apprenticeship scheme and doing away with traditional job interviews.

Laura Steel worked in the entertainment industry for 25 years, including working as a magician's assistant.

She says she could not have made the transition into working in the NHS if it was not for the apprenticeship scheme.

She said: "Because I am a late starter and I have moved into the ambulance service at a later stage in life I don’t think I would have been able to do it.

"I would have had to have gone to university to become a paramedic, I would have had to pay for my own course and take time out to study, which would have probably meant I couldn’t have worked another job.

"As an entertainer I was working with people during the happiest times of their lives and now I am working with people in their most difficult and most challenging time of their lives. It is nice to know I can be there to make a difference."

Recruiting NHS staff for positions can be a challenge as trusts compete with each other for universty graduates from aross the country. The trusts have now started recruiting staff from within their own ranks to more highly qualified positions

Consultant paramedic Vinny Romano said: "It is more flexible in allowing people to do our programme. If you have worked it can be difficult to stop working and go to university.

"This allows someone to earn and pay their bills and come out with a qualification at the end of it. It allows them to see career progression which didn’t exist before that. From day one they can see when they would become a paramedic and can be working towards that qualification."

Large recruitment days have also been used to hire staff following investment into the workforce. These days have seen hundreds of people employed at a time, doing away with traditional job interviews.

Amanda Dunkley from North Cumbria Integrated Care said: "We have been really keen on those recruitment days that we have not just focused our efforts on people who currently work in care or who posses care qualifications.

"We want to open up the opportunity to people who posses the trust values."

Alex is one such recruit who previously worked in IT for the trust. She now works at the Cumberland Infirmary and hopes to use her own negative experiences in life and says the midwives who helped her are the inspiration for her career change.

She said: "In 2020 we actually lost our little girl when I was six months pregnant. She had a rare brain condition, so she was stillborn.

"Having been through it I realised the bad side of things, were still bad to deal with, but weren't as bad as what I would have thought.

"The only way I could describe it is taking a really horrible situation and making it the best situation it could have been. It made me take a step back and look at things differently and want to be there for someone who went through what I did."

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