Hospital bosses demand action as 60 per cent of trainee doctor posts left empty

BOSSES AT three hospitals in the region are demanding action after 60 per cent of key trainee posts for doctors were left empty.

Managers at the Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust, which runs services in Grimsby, Scunthorpe and Goole, were left scrambling to fill positions at the regular February rotation of trainee doctors supplied by the Yorkshire and the Humber Deanery.

The huge shortfall is a repeat of similar problems in August which left the trust - facing a £18 million deficit in 2014-15 - with an extra bill estimated at more than £1.5m. Describing the vacancy rate as “extremely disappointing”, a board report said officials had voiced “extreme discontent” at the situation.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Neil Pease, director of organisational development and workforce at the trust, said it was hoped a board-to-board meeting this month with the NHS Local Education Training Board would lead to improvements.

Worst affected had been posts in emergency medicine and general medicine. One position in cardiology had never been filled in the last three years.

He said the east coast had always faced difficulties in recruitment but the trust was particularly badly affected. The neighbouring Doncaster and Bassetlaw trust had only a 16 per cent vacancy rate.

The trust had taken innovative steps to recruit staff including a partnership with a hospital in Amsterdam and links with Spain and Portugal, said Dr Pease.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We are being really proactive and innovative in the ways we attract staff. Once people come here and work here, they really like it, like the environment, the work and the teaching,” he added.

A Health Education England spokeswoman said: “Trainee doctor vacancy rates vary throughout the year and of course depend on our ability to recruit new doctors to balance those that are leaving. Yorkshire and the Humber has done all it can to promote Yorkshire as an excellent environment to work and train.

“We have worked closely with the trust to support their whole healthcare workforce and we are committed to supporting this trust as a learning environment for future healthcare staff.”

The trust is among a number in the region which has recruited dozens of nurses from abroad and is carrying out a new drive to find 60 additional nursing staff in Poland.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It is also looking to recruit doctors from Hungary, Portugal and India to fill posts including consultant positions.

Total spending on locum and agency doctors is estimated will be more than £20m in 2014-15 - 39 per cent higher than the previous 12 months.