Hospital trust with 500 nursing vacancies struggling to fill roles

A hospital trust with around 500 nursing vacancies has admitted it is having difficulty recruiting and is considering filling some roles with other staff.

The number of vacant nursing posts is likely to grow at the University Hospitals of Leicester Trust, according to chief nurse Julie Smith.

She told the Health Service Journal (HSJ) the priority is to ensure patientsget the "right care".

Ms Smith said "Some of my nurses are doing tasks they don't need to do, they are cleaning bed spaces and giving out cups of tea, things other people can be trained to do.

"It might be that we replace a nurse with a pharmacist or a physio, I don'tknow yet. It depends on the level of care and the type of wards they are on."

Chief nurse says the number of vacant nursing posts is likely to grow. Credit: PA images

The trust said any ideas are still at the "concept stage" and would not bebrought in without the approval of regulators.

The journal also reported an email from trust chief executive John Adler tostaff saying Brexit was having an effect on recruitment.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced a 25% increase in nurse training places to boost the numbers of home-grown NHS staff as Britain leaves the EU.

The Department of Health said the moves were designed to "reduce the reliance on expensive agency nurses and overseas recruits".