Homerton Hospital nursing vacancies running at twice national average

GV of Homerton University Hospital, of Homerton Row.

GV of Homerton University Hospital, of Homerton Row. - Credit: Archant

Vacancies for nursing jobs at Hackney’s Homerton Hospital are running at twice the national average, causing concern for the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

Vacancies for nursing jobs at Homerton Hospital are running at twice the national average, causing concern for the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

While six per cent of nursing posts are vacant throughout the UK, there are currently 123 unfilled posts at the hospital in Homerton Row - representing 12 per cent of the total nursing workforce there.

The figures are revealed in a report from nursing union, RCN, and show the average London rate is 11 per cent, while at some London trusts the figure is higher than 20 per cent.

Nationally 6,000 posts have been lost since 2010, however in London the number has stayed largely stable.

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Although the RCN believes nursing directors in London have tried to protect jobs where possible despite a squeezed budget, it is worried hospital trusts in the capital are balancing the books by making dangerous cuts to senior nursing posts.

RCN London regional director Bernell Bussue said: “London’s nursing directors have worked hard to protect posts but we worry that work is being undermined by a lack of available, suitably qualified nurses to take vacant positions.

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“There are obvious questions about whether training is being commissioned at appropriate levels and whether enough is being done to attract nurses from all backgrounds to what is a really great profession.”

Around 60 residents shared their view about the hospital in Homerton Row at a Healthwatch Hackney “Speak Up” event last week.

Liz Hughes who helped run the event said: “We heard some instances about a lack of care in some areas that could be related to staffing, with comments like, “Sometimes though the nurses can be really busy and they are not always around,” or “Sometimes they take their time to answer the bell,” and “”There is also not enough staff here, they do come when you call them but in the evenings they are busy.””

But the group also collected many positive comments with people praising the “caring” staff and others who said they had no complaints about the hospital.

The information collected will be shared with Care Quality Commission inspectors next year.

A spokesman for the Homerton said ensuring the right nurses and midwives are in the right place at the right time is an essential component for safe, high quality care.

He added: “We have low vacancy levels in key areas such as intensive care and maternity but it is still important to fill vacancies not least because of the cost implications of having to call on bank or agency nurses to cover posts.”

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