Vacancies in nursing rise by 1000% at Trust


Vacancies in nursing at the Southern Health Trust went up by 1,000% over the past two years, according to recent data.

Vacancies stood at 19 two years ago and have risen to 226, according to the figures received by the BBC via a Freedom of Information Act across the UK.

It showed that there are more than 850 nursing vacancies across four of the north’s five health trusts.

Figures also reveal there are 243 doctor vacancies here.

A spokesperson for the Southern Health Trust said: “There are currently 96 nursing posts in the recruitment system not yet allocated, which represents 4.5% of our nursing workforce.

“However, we have made conditional offers to a number of student nurses pending their results, which will cover these positions.”

Meanwhile, the Belfast Health Trust is reporting more than 500 available nursing positions. When it comes to doctors there are about 113 unfilled posts in Belfast, with 44 in the Western Health Trust.

The figures are not a true reflection as the South Eastern Trust said they compiled their appointments and vacancies differently and did not supply any information.

There are almost 23,500 nursing vacancies - equivalent to 9% of the workforce - across the UK.

That has resulted in two of NI’s health trusts recruiting staff from abroad.

Stormont’s Department of Health said it has increased the total size of the health and social care workforce by 6% over the past five years and this year it has invested £12m to increase the number of nurses on general and specialist medical and surgical wards.

“Health and social care bodies have and continue to take steps to support recruitment and retention of staff. Regionally steps include development of overseas recruitment, increasing training numbers, and launch of a return to nursing campaign,” the statement said. “Investing in our workforce will continue to ensure that they have the capacity, knowledge and skills to support a world class service.”