Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental health and learning disability services in Sussex, is in line for an award for its campaign recruiting 150 new mental health and learning disability nurses during the past 12 months.  Its ‘Not Just a Job’ campaign, which includes a film that stars staff from across the organisation (see it on youtube), has been shortlisted in the communications category of the national 2018 Health Service Journal (HSJ) Value in Healthcare Awards, which recognise and reward “outstanding efficiency and improvement” within the NHS. Judging takes place on 6 April and the winners will be announced on 7 June at an awards ceremony in Manchester.

Fronted by nurses who work at the trust, the campaign promotes the trust’s aim to help graduates move from student to staff nurse as quickly as possible. This involves pledges of personal coaching and mentoring, an apprentice scheme and fast track promotion opportunities. Recruits will also be offered the chance to help design their own personal rotation scheme to get a taste of working in specialities that interest them the most.

The main aims are not only improvement of patient care but also reduction of the proportion of money spent on agency nurses.  The trust spent £6.4m on them in the previous year 2016/17, a third of which went on recruitment agency fees.

On the other hand Sussex Partnership have admitted that, during the same period, i.e. between April last year and now, 148 nurses of all grades have left the trust’s employment    40 retired, the rest gone elsewhere or out of the profession altogether.

In East Sussex the position seems to have worsened: while 14 qualified nurses have been recruited to adult services during this period, 24 have left (of whom 12 have retired), though there are 3 more potential recruits currently at “offer stage”.

It seems that no matter what promotional efforts are made for fresh intakes, the exit door may revolve even faster.


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