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Friday, 28 November 2014

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Drive to recruit new generation of carers

A DRIVE to recruit 50 new nursing and healthcare apprentices could help combat the spiralling costs of agency staff in local hospitals.

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust is launching a pilot apprenticeship scheme in Barrow and Lancaster.

David Wilkinson, director of workforce and organisational development at the trust, said there had been a heavy reliance on bank and agency staff, which had led to a lack of continuity.

A report to the trust’s board of directors said: “The nurse bank/agency suppliers are required to supply contingent labour support, often at premium rates, with failure to meet demands meaning that colleagues cross-cover the vacancies.”

The report said the apprentice pool should considerably reduce the need for agency healthcare support workers, which cost the trust £2m in 2013/14.

The initiative – dubbed Growing our Own to Provide Great Care – is in partnership with Furness College and Lancaster and Morecambe College.

It will see up to 25 new healthcare support workers training on the wards and departments at both Furness General Hospital and Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

Sue Smith, executive chief nurse at the trust, says the care support worker role is critical to help deliver high-quality care to meet patients’ needs.

She said “We are investing in the training and education of staff to deliver the very best patient care. The apprentices will be recruited based on their personalities and values, which will ensure the trust employs people who are compassionate and committed to caring.”

The recruits will study a Level Two apprenticeship in Healthcare with an option to progress into a career in healthcare or nursing.

The first apprentices will spend one day a week at college and 25 hours working within the hospital, with additional study time required.

They will rotate around three different wards and departments to gain a wide clinical perspective.

The programme will start in September 2014.

Stuart Rimmer, director of quality and enterprise at Lancaster and Morecambe College said: “These partnerships enrich the student learning experience and also we have found that the business benefits hugely from having staff who are training and learning the latest techniques.”

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