An NHS trust is exploring whether to pay nursing staff a “finder’s fee” for recommending other nurses to come and work at the provider.

The board of Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells Trust has discussed the idea, but told HSJ no decisions had been made and did not say what level of payment would be made.

However, HSJ has learned that the trust has organised an assessment of whether such a scheme would be feasible to help it tackle difficulties recruiting nursing staff.

At a meeting of the board in July, non-executive director Sarah Dunnett raised the idea of a finder’s fee due after the board was told a recruitment trip to Ireland had resulted in no applications, board papers said.

Nursing director Claire O’Brien “acknowledged the validity of the idea, and stated she was aware that some other trusts had adopted this. It was, therefore, agreed that the feasibility of the proposal should be assessed.”

In September, the board was told the proposal had been discussed at the trust’s recruitment and retention group with an initial outline paper prepared for the executive team.

A board report said: “The executive team agreed to the principle, but asked that further work be undertaken on the specific details.”

A verbal discussion at the board took place on 17 October.

A trust spokeswoman said: ”Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust is exploring a number of ideas to attract and retain permanent staff to its hospitals and a finder’s fee for nursing staff is just one of those options.

“Our priority is to recruit the right people and make sure they remain with our trust. We hope that we can be innovative in our recruitment campaigns and attract staff who are looking for new opportunities, and who will share the trust’s aims and values. In the present employment market it is right that we examine all options to ensure that the right staff care for our patients.”