Hospital recruits Spanish nurses

PUBLISHED: 11:41 25 June 2013 | UPDATED: 11:41 25 June 2013

Weston Hospital.

Weston Hospital.

Archant

MORE than 40 Spanish nurses will join Weston General Hospital as it looks to address critical staff shortages.

Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors ordered it to hire more nurses after finding staff so overstretched the hospital was ‘unsafe’ on occasions.

Last week chief executive Nick Wood promised Weston Area Health NHS Trust (WAHT) would act on the CQC’s findings with the equivalent of 36.5 full-time nurses to be hired.

The Mercury can reveal WAHT is hiring 44 Spanish nurses to solve its shortcomings.

The trust has lost its lucrative £5million funding stream in April from NHS North Somerset Primary Care Trust, but its spokesman denied the move was a cheap solution to the problem.

He said: “There is currently a national shortage of qualified nurses in the country, which is especially noticeable in the south, and this is a problem that is not unique to WAHT but faced throughout the NHS.

“The trust is very happy to recruit a number of very highly qualified and experienced nurses from Spain who will be joining the hospital nursing team from July.

“Interviews were conducted by trust representatives, including senior nursing staff, which took place in Spain over a four-day period to allow the trust to critically assess candidates for both clinical skill and ability to work within the hospital.”

He said all the nurses demonstrated a good quality of English and the trust is confident they will do a great job.

WAHT hired more than a dozen Spanish nurses nearly a decade ago although one hospital employee, who has asked to remain anonymous, said those brought in did not stay at Weston hospital long.

The quality of staff was one area which the CQC’s 27-page dossier did not criticise with patients saying nurses and doctors were being asked to do too much.

But WAHT was handed two formal warnings and told to make improvements in five areas, including preserving patients’ dignity and record keeping.

Prolonged failure to improve standards could potentially see legal proceedings started against the organisation.

Weston MP John Penrose this week called for improvements to be made so the town can have a hospital it is proud of.

He also asked Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to look into increasing funding for WAHT which he believes has not received the amount of cash it needs.

Mr Hunt confirmed a fundamental review of funding for all NHS trusts will be completed before the next allocation of money is finalised.

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