A large mental health trust has ended its contract with Capita for human resources services after significant recruitment backlogs left wards understaffed.

West London Mental Health Trust, which provides services across three London boroughs as well as national specialist treatment, this month ended its recruitment contract with the outsourcing firm.

The news comes as two further trusts in Merseyside confirmed they were ending payroll and HR contracts with Capita.

The west London deal had run for 17 months and seen Capita take on responsibility for recruitment.

The trust said despite issuing performance management notices to the company it was “unable to meet acceptable ‘time to hire’ targets”, particularly for nurses.

In a report to the board of the organisation, trust chief executive Steve Shrubb said he “remained concerned that the delays are impacting on the trust’s ability to maintain appropriate staffing levels”.

In a statement the trust said that as a result of Capita’s performance “the trust’s vacancy rate at the end of August was 2.4 per cent higher than target, representing 152 unfilled posts”.

“The impact of this situation has placed an additional strain on our services and on our staff. We have had to take targeted actions in some parts of the trust to deal with staff vacancies.”

Liverpool seafront

Trusts across Merseyside have pulled out of HR and payroll contracts with Capita

The trust had filled vacancies with bank staff while redirecting staff from other activities to ensure safe staffing levels were maintained on its wards.

Recruitment work has now been brought back in-house and the trust has purchased a new recruitment software system.

West London’s decision to end the contract follows a number of trusts across Liverpool pulling out of a landmark £27m deal to buy payroll and recruitment services from the consultancy giant.

As reported by HSJ in June, five north Merseyside providers that transferred services to Capita in 2012 had brought the services back into the NHS or transferred them to another provider.

Since then, two further trusts have confirmed to HSJ they were terminating their HR contracts with Capita.

Alder Hey Children’s Foundation Trust said was “in the process of terminating its contract with Capita and a new provider will be in place from 1 October”.

Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital Foundation Trust confirmed its HR shared services contract with Capita was being terminated at the end of September.  

A Capita spokesman said: “Following a joint review of services, Capita and West London Mental Health Trust have mutually agreed that Capita will no longer provide recruitment administration services to the trust. Capita will work with the trust to ensure a smooth handover.

“Capita will continue to provide payroll services to the trust and remains committed to providing its broad range of services to the NHS.”