Morecambe Bay NHS trust hit by nursing shortage

The Royal Lancaster Infirmary.
The Royal Lancaster Infirmary.

The University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay are struggling to recruit the nurses and midwives they need, NHS Digital data shows.

The Royal College of Nurses has warned that both aspiring and experienced nurses are leaving the profession, as a result of pressure on the workforce.

The latest figures show that 725 nursing and midwifery job openings were advertised by the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust between October 2017 and September 2018.

As of September, the trust employed 5,271 full-time staff, with 30% of them in nursing and midwifery - but these roles made up 41% of the positions advertised over the year.

Doctors and dentists, meanwhile, represented 10% of staff and 14% of vacancies.

Overall, 1,788 jobs opened up at the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay over the year.

RCN England director Patricia Marquis said underfunding and a lack of planning has severely depleted the nursing workforce.

She said: “Our members say they’ve been pushed from pillar to post. They feel anxious that they might make mistakes because of the constant pressure short staffing causes.

“The burden on the insufficient workforce leads to conditions in which experienced nurses consider leaving, and aspiring nurses think twice about their chosen career. It has a clear impact on the safe and effective care of patients.”

Across all trusts in England, just under 350,000 vacancies were posted over the year, with nearly 150,000 of them in nursing and midwifery.