A RECRUITMENT drive to ensure patients receive the care they need on Swindon’s hospital wards is gathering pace with 264 nurses hired and scores more expected to join the Great Western Hospital over the next few months.

The latest round of candidates, both student and qualified nurses, were interviewed by managers and trainers yesterday as the GWH NHS Trust seeks to hire a further 100 employees.

Last April, faced with staff shortages, GWH invested £1.1m in a large recruitment campaign as well as £250,000 in training and development.

So far 264 nurses and 45 midwives have joined the trust, increasing the number of nursing and midwifery staff on the wards and in the community by 129, compared to the previous year. Although progress in hiring new employees has been made, 100 more nurses are needed.

The drive aims not only to fill vacancies but ensure nurses are allowed more time with each patient and are able to provide personalised care.

Oonagh Fitzgerald, director of workforce and education at GWH, said: “Many more local nurses have chosen to join us and we’ve recruited some really experienced nurses from abroad. We’re putting a significant amount of time into getting more staff onto our wards and into the community.

“However, recruiting nurses in particular is a challenge, due to a national shortage of qualified and experienced nurses. We will continue our efforts to recruit nurses with the qualities we value – kindness, compassion and professionalism – until we have all of the nurses we need.

“With around 5,500 staff we are one of the biggest employers in the South West and there are few places to work as rewarding.”

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Pictured above, left to right, are Gabrielle Tilley, community education manager, Daisy Stojanovic and Alex Edwards, student nurses, and Shelly Knight, student placement manager.

The Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is trying to recruit nurses both at GWH and its community hospitals and healthcare services across Wiltshire.

The trust has looked much further afield, including Portugal, Spain and Ireland, for new recruits over the past few months. Although from very different backgrounds, the nurses have proved a welcome addition to their teams, according to Rachael Evans, clinical supervision coordinator.

“Nurses in Portugal and Spain are more clinically skilled and we find that they bring different skills to the teams,” she said.

“Every country has nurses and that’s the benefit of being a nurse, you can go anywhere you want to work. So why shouldn’t Portuguese or Spanish nurses move to England?”

She added: “I think it’s important to have new blood, and for the teams to keep up their knowledge.”