WORKFORCE: Southern Health is running at a staff vacancy rate of 11.7 per cent in the year to date, more than double the rate planned.

Trust board papers said posts were being held in areas facing “large scale organisational change to allow capacity for redeployment”.

Some vacancies in areas where recruitment is underway, such as in children’s services, represent skill shortages.

There has also been a “steady increase in sickness absence” in mental health services, “which is believed to be a consequence of ongoing organisational change” in those areas.

However health visitor recruitment is ahead of plan. The trust plans to recruit 155 whole time equivalent staff by the end of 2012-13.