Overseas nurses to solve Addenbrooke’s crisis

Olly Hudson 15 February 2015

Addenbrooke’s has announced that a record number of nurses have been recruited following the success of the hospital’s overseas recruitment drive.

Some 110 new members of staff are set to boost staffing levels, after The Cambridge Student reported last month that chronic shortages had resulted in the declaration of a major incident at the hospital.

The welcome news follows the recommendations of a Nursing and Midwifery taskforce, formed in early 2014 when shortages were first identified. The latest recruitment drive now brings the total figure of nurses recruited overseas since August of last year to 200, with a further 25 set to arrive from Spain. 

In a comment to Cambridge News, Chief Nurse Ann-Marie Ingle said: “Like many Trusts across England, we are working hard to recruit additional nurses in the midst of a national nursing shortage. We are making steady progress and it’s fantastic to welcome over 100 nurses this month. We are hugely appreciative that they have made the decision to join us.”

Pressure on NHS services, particularly A&E, have been the subject of much political dispute between Labour and the Conservatives as the General Election campaign intensifies. Just last week, Prime Minister’s Questions witnessed heated exchanges between leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband, and David Cameron who accused Mr Miliband of seeking to “weaponise the NHS” for political gain. Labour have accused the government of presiding over a "winter crisis" in the NHS.

Figures released by NHS England this week show that 88.3 percent of patients were seen within 4 hours at major A&E hospitals, again short of the government’s target of 95 percent. A total of 92.3 percent of patients were seen within the target period across all A&Es. 

Nonetheless, England’s performance remains markedly better than Wales and Northern Ireland, where figures released in December showed that the four-hour target was being met in just 81 percent and 76.7 percent of cases respectively. 

Tom Wilson of Homerton College, who previously told TCS about his experience of waiting more than 4 hours in A&E during September, welcomed the latest recruitment drive as “great news”, though added: “It still won’t solve the problem of in-patient wards being full (I had to sleep in day wards), but it is a good start, they always make the best of tough circumstances.”

Emma and Ella Mi of the Cambride University Conservative Association committee welcomed the news, commenting to TCS: “We are pleased to see the success of Addenbrooke’s recruitment drive and the hospital’s proactive attitude in addressing the increasing pressure on services.”

They added: “the Conservative Party is committed to boosting nursing education and training in the UK, as a long-term solution to staffing shortages.”

Reece Edmends of Cambridge Student Liberal Democrats also told TCS: “Addenbrooke’s was stretched to breaking point this winter and desperately needs this metaphorical shot in the arm. Nationally, our manifesto will promise an extra £8 billion for the NHS for 2020, plugging the funding gap outlined by NHS England. The NHS is a priority: it can – it must – be supported.”