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Attracting staff to rural or remote hospitals can be a challenge – especially when those hospitals have well-publicised quality issues.

So it is not surprising to see some innovative ideas coming out of these trusts in an attempt to boost recruitment. One initiative from East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust is targeting the partners of prospective consultants who are very likely to be looking for new jobs themselves if a move to East Kent – or more especially Thanet – is on the cards.

The trust is offering them “guaranteed” posts if there is a vacancy and they meet the minimum criteria – and, where there are no jobs available currently, they can be employed on a supernumerary basis for up to two years.

Reaction from HSJ readers has verged from cries of “nepotism” and concern that existing staff may lose out on promotion opportunities to support for the trust for trying something different.

In reality, the idea will probably work best if the partners are looking for a job where the trust has lots of vacancies (such as nursing or some other consultant roles). Things may get a bit sticky as jobs become more specialised and further up the hierarchy – and with existing staff hoping to get the role.

The board presumably supported this move but, with chief executive Susan Acott stepping down next year, how will they feel if the partner of a new consultant meets the minimum criteria for her role and puts in an application? Guaranteed may not have quite the same meaning in that case.

Vax fee and rollout speed increase

GP practices are to receive £15 for each covid vaccination given from Monday to Saturday – up from £12.58 so far in the programme – and £20 for Sunday and Bank Holiday vaccinations from 1 December to 31 January, HSJ has learned. 

The move comes as the NHS seeks to accelerate the process, despite major constraints on workforce – and several senior NHS leaders said the service should also now call in military support as the government sets its sights on 3.5 million doses each week.

Senior NHS leaders are now stressing vaccines will still be made available only by age bands or other criteria, not all at once, and that the most vulnerable should be prioritised, rather than only large numbers.

British Medical Association GP committee chair Dr Farah Jameel said: “GP teams will step up to protect and care for those most in need as we continue to face huge challenges – as we have throughout the pandemic. But 20 months in, many of us are exhausted and demoralised and will need substantial support.”