THE King Edward Memorial Hospital in Stanley (left) is struggling to recruit nurses and as a result will be expanding advertising for nurses to countries other than the UK.
According to a report by the Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) the hospital will also be asking for nursing job descriptions to be reviewed and the grade re-evaluated when the moratorium on re-evaluations is lifted on July 1, 2012.
According to the paper, during the last recruitment round a number of applicants who had requested information packs were asked why they had not applied. Reasons given included
• Family reasons.• That the job description has the equivalent of Band 6 responsibilities in the NHS but that the salary is for a Band 5 post.• The pay level generally.
The Chief Nursing Officer noted: "While we can inform applicants that the salary and job descriptions are not related to the UK, the comparison of salaries is not attractive and is certainly a factor inhibiting recruitment. A Band 5 Nurse would be working at a similar salary offered by the Falkland Islands Government (FIG) with the opportunity of regular increments and better terms and conditions around on call, unsocial hours, maternity leave etc. This does not make a move here very attractive."
In the Falklands £21,246 is offered for a staff nurse and and at least one years experience is requested (although less will be accepted on occasion). There is no opportunity to progress in the pay scheme. In the UK a newly qualified staff nurse is offered £21,176 which increases after 6 months to £21,798 and at the end of the first year to £22,663. Progress is then continued each year on satisfactory performance.
While in the Falklands a 25% gratuity is offered on a 2 year contract this in reality only replaces the NHS pension contributions so cannot be viewed as an augmentation to their basis wage.
The cost to KEMH to employ agency nurses is considerably higher than this.
The CNO said: "The effect on morale for the nursing service as with any other group of staff when short of staff over a length of time is damaging. Adding attractions to new staff on recruitment is also de-moralising when staff have worked to provide cover, give good patient care and have not had their extra qualifications recognised."
The present levels require recruitment for Qualified Nurses to 4 vacant posts
At a meeting of the Health and Medical Services Committee on Thursday the CNO will ask Members to note that: "Nursing Staff recruitment is not successful at present and that the cost of cover from nursing agencies is high."
The Royal Falkland Islands Police is also currently suffering from unsuccessful recruitment.
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