WORKFORCE: A Midlands hospital trust has announced plans to recruit dozens more nurses after staff voiced fears over ward shortages.

Chesterfield Royal Hospital Foundation Trust has announced it will spend £1.2m to recruit 40 whole time equivalent registered nurses to work on nine wards at the East Midlands trust.

Nine additional healthcare assistants will be recruited to two surgical and one orthopaedic ward at a cost of £150,00.

According to the trust, the move is a direct response to concerns staff raised through the 2011 staff survey when some staff said wards no longer had sufficient nursing budgets and were being forced to top up with too many agency and temporary workers.

Following the concerns the FT launched a review of all 16 in-patient wards at hospital to assess staffing levels based on national standards and best practice.

The study identified nine wards as being short-staffed and the hospital board has now approved the investment in new nurses – the largest single increase in staff spending the trust has ever seen.

In recent weeks a number of trusts have announced plans to increase staff numbers with University Hospitals Leicester spending £2m to recruit 42 nurses and 25 HCAs.

Nottingham University Hospitals, the Royal Wolverhampton Hospital, and the University Hospital of North Staffordshire have also all announced increases in nurse numbers.

Chesterfield chief executive Gavin Boyle said: “In this case staff were ‘spot on’ - we have listened; and we have been able to take action. This increase in qualified nursing staff will help to improve the quality of care we provide – and make financial savings as the reliance on expensive temporary staffing reduces. I believe it’s absolutely the right thing to do for our patients and for our staff.”

Alfonzo Tramontano, the trust’s chief nurse, added: “We are about to launch a new care strategy, which aims to improve the basic care patients receive on the wards. Combined with improved staffing, this is a real opportunity to make massive improvements to the care we give.”

The FT has already invested in 10 more midwifes this year to increase staffing within its hospital and community-based midwifery services.