Mission to fill NHS jobs

MORE than three per cent of medical posts in the region are unfilled, new figures have shown.Despite mounting pressure in hospitals in East Anglia, there are still vacant posts for nurses, midwives, physiotherapists and other medical roles.

MORE than three per cent of medical posts in the region are unfilled, new figures have shown.

Despite mounting pressure in hospitals in East Anglia, there are still vacant posts for nurses, midwives, physiotherapists and other medical roles.

In NHS East of England, the region's strategic health authority, there is an average of 3pc of posts vacant, compared with a national average of 5.2pc, in the statistics from the NHS Information Centre.

Experts have blamed increasing demand, a lack of training places, staff retiring and changes in immigration laws. The new Euro-pean rules, limiting junior doctors' hours to 48 a week, that have just come into force are thought to have added to the pressure.


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Health bosses in the region say the figures represent “movement in the workforce”, and add that they are working hard to fill any vacancies.

In the east, vacancies include:

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32 posts at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital - but this is down from 52 the previous year.

40 midwifery posts at the James Paget University Hospital, Gorleston.

13 non-medical staff at the East of England Ambulance Service.

A spokeswoman for NHS East of England said initiatives were under way to increase the number of practising midwives. “The aim is to provide one-to-one care for women in established labour, with one midwife for every 30 women, as well as modernising the midwifery services,” she added.

“The figures are not high. In fact, as Tim Straughan, chief executive of the NHS Information Centre, himself said, they do show a slight increase in the rates of long-term vacancies among most groups of NHS staff for the first time in at least five years but remain lower than 2006 or before.”

The latest figures, which look at jobs unfilled on March 31 this year, found that 5.2pc of all NHS medical posts - including hospital doctors and dentists - were vacant, up from 3.6pc the previous year.

The ambulance service said it had been recruiting student paramedics over the past year, and this investment would continue.

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