West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust set to hire nurses from Spain and Portugal to rescue Watford General Hospital staff shortages

Watford Observer: Graphic: Adam Vanger. Graphic: Adam Vanger.

A national shortage of nurses has forced the trust that runs Watford General Hospital to hire more than 80 new midwives and nurses from Spain and Portugal.

In April, West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust reviewed its staff levels across its hospitals in Watford, St Albans and Hemel Hempstead, partly in response to an inquiry into failings in Mid Staffordshire.

It discovered an extra 160 nurses were needed, plus another 20 to cover the busy winter period. In addition, the trust found up to 10 nurses would leave each month, which would also need to be accounted for.

In response to this the trust took on a large number of temporary staff, with the aim of eventually filling the roles with permanent nurses, costing £3.9million a year.

The trust has recruited 10 nurses from Ireland, and then in November senior nursing and midwifery staff travelled to Spain and Portugal and hired 84 new staff.

The next trip will be to Milan, where the trust is looking for 60 more nurses.

Antony Tiernan, director of corporate affairs and communications at the trust, said: "Our preference is for local people who have been through Hertfordshire University but it isn’t as easy as that.

"The number of nurses needed in the future is worked out years ago. The Department of Health and universities get together and predict how many nurses we will need and then offer that number of courses.

"There’s no point training people for the future if there will be no jobs.

"There was an estimation that the economy would change, there would be less money in the NHS and we would need fewer nurses. Consequently, there are not enough nurses being trained.

Watford Observer:

"In addition, concerns from Mid Staffs highlighted a lack of nurses on the ward, so suddenly you have a major drive to recruit more nurses and a downturn in the number of them."

Mr Tiernan suggested European countries had a "large availability" of nurses due to financial downturn.

Conversely, in the UK the Royal College of Nursing said the number of nursing courses on offer had dropped by 3,375 since 2010/11 creating a national shortage.

He said: "We work with an agency that is trained in recruiting overseas, to help find people and hold interviews.

"They are tested in written and spoken English, and have a special cultural induction to explain the nuances of what it is like to work in Britain, as well as the expectations and the challenges.

"It’s about knowing we have the right number of nurses on a ward with the right skill mix, 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.

There is real evidence to show that the right number of nurses has an effect on mortality rates, as well as patients getting fed and looked after properly."

Comments (7)

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4:53pm Thu 5 Dec 13

E.Coli says...

ayuda mi pan cama está llena
ayuda mi pan cama está llena E.Coli

5:02pm Thu 5 Dec 13

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

"There’s no point training people for the future if there will be no jobs.

"There was an estimation that the economy would change, there would be less money in the NHS and we would need fewer nurses. Consequently, there are not enough nurses being trained.

--------

Is it just me, or do those two statements contradict each other? "We don't train more nurses than we need, but now we need more nurses than we thought we did so now we don't have enough. Luckily the EU is in a huge recession so we can get some nurses from abroad." NHS planning at its best?

No contingency has caught the NHS planners with their trousers down again. It's just embarrassing really and it is letting down the people of Hertfordshire.
"There’s no point training people for the future if there will be no jobs. "There was an estimation that the economy would change, there would be less money in the NHS and we would need fewer nurses. Consequently, there are not enough nurses being trained. -------- Is it just me, or do those two statements contradict each other? "We don't train more nurses than we need, but now we need more nurses than we thought we did so now we don't have enough. Luckily the EU is in a huge recession so we can get some nurses from abroad." NHS planning at its best? No contingency has caught the NHS planners with their trousers down again. It's just embarrassing really and it is letting down the people of Hertfordshire. Phil Cox (UKIP)

5:50pm Thu 5 Dec 13

Lady Phillippa Of Staines says...

Thats funny
My doctor always insists on my trousers being down when I see him & I only ever go with recurring halitosis problems
Thats funny My doctor always insists on my trousers being down when I see him & I only ever go with recurring halitosis problems Lady Phillippa Of Staines

6:02pm Thu 5 Dec 13

G_Whiz says...

Quote 'Conversely, in the UK the Royal College of Nursing said the number of nursing courses on offer had dropped by 3,375 since 2010/11 creating a national shortage.'

Ridiculous! embarrassing! - All these kids that can't find jobs - how about training, at least some of them as nurses!? - a job for life!

One minute we are lectured by consecutive governments of the benefit of increasing our population massively - then, all we read in the papers are problems with a massively increasing population! - Laughable!

As all too common in the past - I expect we will be hearing more horror stories of mistakes made by poorly trained or fake documented agency staff... It's as predictable as night follows day.!

The next time a local canvasser from any of the political party's knock on your door, please remind them of this story, as it's one of their ongoing political failures.......
Quote 'Conversely, in the UK the Royal College of Nursing said the number of nursing courses on offer had dropped by 3,375 since 2010/11 creating a national shortage.' Ridiculous! embarrassing! - All these kids that can't find jobs - how about training, at least some of them as nurses!? - a job for life! One minute we are lectured by consecutive governments of the benefit of increasing our population massively - then, all we read in the papers are problems with a massively increasing population! - Laughable! As all too common in the past - I expect we will be hearing more horror stories of mistakes made by poorly trained or fake documented agency staff... It's as predictable as night follows day.! The next time a local canvasser from any of the political party's knock on your door, please remind them of this story, as it's one of their ongoing political failures....... G_Whiz

6:07pm Thu 5 Dec 13

Mrs Droftaw says...

What would help Watford Gen - would be if London Boroughs stopped using Watford as a dumping ground for people they can't house - mainly the people who are the people with the most complex problems - so far Watford Council have managed to keep this quiet but is it true and the problem will only get worse in the next few years..............W
atford is at breaking point!
What would help Watford Gen - would be if London Boroughs stopped using Watford as a dumping ground for people they can't house - mainly the people who are the people with the most complex problems - so far Watford Council have managed to keep this quiet but is it true and the problem will only get worse in the next few years..............W atford is at breaking point! Mrs Droftaw

11:39am Mon 9 Dec 13

garston tony says...

Phil Cox (UKIP) wrote:
"There’s no point training people for the future if there will be no jobs. "There was an estimation that the economy would change, there would be less money in the NHS and we would need fewer nurses. Consequently, there are not enough nurses being trained. -------- Is it just me, or do those two statements contradict each other? "We don't train more nurses than we need, but now we need more nurses than we thought we did so now we don't have enough. Luckily the EU is in a huge recession so we can get some nurses from abroad." NHS planning at its best? No contingency has caught the NHS planners with their trousers down again. It's just embarrassing really and it is letting down the people of Hertfordshire.
No they dont contradict each other, someone did some sums and worked out there would be lower demand for nurses in the future so the numbers being trained were cut back ie there is no point training people for the future if there will be no jobs.

The point is whoever did their sums got it wrong hence why we dont have enough now.

I doubt UKIP could do any better, there are just too many variables for predictions to be right all the time. Not great, but sounds like the NHS is doing its best to sort the problem out.

All your comments are blatent politiking. If the story had been about twice as many people being trained as nurses as were needed you'd be complaining about a waste of money in education. You have no policy apart from jumping on bandwagons.
[quote][p][bold]Phil Cox (UKIP)[/bold] wrote: "There’s no point training people for the future if there will be no jobs. "There was an estimation that the economy would change, there would be less money in the NHS and we would need fewer nurses. Consequently, there are not enough nurses being trained. -------- Is it just me, or do those two statements contradict each other? "We don't train more nurses than we need, but now we need more nurses than we thought we did so now we don't have enough. Luckily the EU is in a huge recession so we can get some nurses from abroad." NHS planning at its best? No contingency has caught the NHS planners with their trousers down again. It's just embarrassing really and it is letting down the people of Hertfordshire.[/p][/quote]No they dont contradict each other, someone did some sums and worked out there would be lower demand for nurses in the future so the numbers being trained were cut back ie there is no point training people for the future if there will be no jobs. The point is whoever did their sums got it wrong hence why we dont have enough now. I doubt UKIP could do any better, there are just too many variables for predictions to be right all the time. Not great, but sounds like the NHS is doing its best to sort the problem out. All your comments are blatent politiking. If the story had been about twice as many people being trained as nurses as were needed you'd be complaining about a waste of money in education. You have no policy apart from jumping on bandwagons. garston tony

12:34pm Mon 9 Dec 13

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

Tony,

reading your posts it would seem that you have a generous spirit, always try to see the best in people and are always loath to criticise those that are in power even when there are clues as to general incompetence. That is a charitable outlook on life.

I on the other hand try to identify problems with the services we pay so much for and criticise where necessary those in power so that they will realise that thay cannot get away with providing poor services to the public, which we pay for from our taxes.

If we in UKIP get into power and make such mistakes on our watch, I would be most grateful if people would point them out to us because it would help us provide a better service all round. No-one is perfect, but we are all capable of improvement.

We may have a different approach to life, neither one is wrong, just different.

By way of example

When you have a bad meal served in a restaurant and the waiter comes over and says "is everything alright with your meal?" you have a choice.

You can be polite (and dishonest) and say "Yes, fine thank you", leave the restaurant and never return, taking your custom elsewhere. The restaurant goes out of business but has no idea why.

Alternatively, you can be honest and say "Actually, no, there was a problem with the....". This will give the restaurant the opportunity to provide a better service and/or meal in the future. It will stay in business and in all likelihood you will visit again knowing that it is a good restaurant to go to. Everyone wins.

With the NHS or councils we are pretty much a captive audience. We can't take our custom elsewhere so we have a starker choice. We can either point out where things are failing or where things could be done better, say that things are just not good enough, or we can turn the other cheek and put up with it, often combined with moaning about how awful things are.

There clearly was no decent contingency on this nurse training issue Tony, and for me that smacks of incompetence and cost-cutting beyond what is reasonable. I'll try to make the restaurant better as it's the only restaurant in town. If I succeed, it will be better for all those who use it and that's a win-win situation.
Tony, reading your posts it would seem that you have a generous spirit, always try to see the best in people and are always loath to criticise those that are in power even when there are clues as to general incompetence. That is a charitable outlook on life. I on the other hand try to identify problems with the services we pay so much for and criticise where necessary those in power so that they will realise that thay cannot get away with providing poor services to the public, which we pay for from our taxes. If we in UKIP get into power and make such mistakes on our watch, I would be most grateful if people would point them out to us because it would help us provide a better service all round. No-one is perfect, but we are all capable of improvement. We may have a different approach to life, neither one is wrong, just different. By way of example When you have a bad meal served in a restaurant and the waiter comes over and says "is everything alright with your meal?" you have a choice. You can be polite (and dishonest) and say "Yes, fine thank you", leave the restaurant and never return, taking your custom elsewhere. The restaurant goes out of business but has no idea why. Alternatively, you can be honest and say "Actually, no, there was a problem with the....". This will give the restaurant the opportunity to provide a better service and/or meal in the future. It will stay in business and in all likelihood you will visit again knowing that it is a good restaurant to go to. Everyone wins. With the NHS or councils we are pretty much a captive audience. We can't take our custom elsewhere so we have a starker choice. We can either point out where things are failing or where things could be done better, say that things are just not good enough, or we can turn the other cheek and put up with it, often combined with moaning about how awful things are. There clearly was no decent contingency on this nurse training issue Tony, and for me that smacks of incompetence and cost-cutting beyond what is reasonable. I'll try to make the restaurant better as it's the only restaurant in town. If I succeed, it will be better for all those who use it and that's a win-win situation. Phil Cox (UKIP)

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