WORKFORCE: University Hospital of North Staffordshire is to recruit 300 nurses over the next year to help provide staffing at Stafford Hospital.

The trust, which employs 2,500 nurses, has said it will seek to recruit most of the nurses from Europe, particularly from Portugal, Italy and Spain and Greece.

It is looking to boost nursing numbers ahead of the planned dissolution of Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust in November. At this point, North Staffs is due to take over the running of Stafford Hospital, the FT’s main site.

North Staffs is already using some of its nurses and doctors to provide cover at Stafford, before it takes over.

North Staffs chief nurse Liz Rix said: “We are doing all we can to get more nurses to work in our area including supporting Stafford Hospital.

“Many hospitals are recruiting at present so it is getting a very competitive market and we need to look internationally.

“If we can recruit locally we do so, but it’s important that we ensure we maintain our excellent nurse to patient ratios and reduce agency staff.”

Ms Rix added: “We are looking to visit Portugal and Spain in the first instance because their nurses have similar training to us and speak excellent English, thereafter we may also be visiting Italy and Greece.

“We are also seeing if we can bring in qualified nurses who have taken career breaks.”