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Newham's NHS trust has most nursing vacancies in London

PUBLISHED: 14:09 18 January 2016 | UPDATED: 15:13 18 January 2016

A nurse prepares a syringe. Picture: David Cheskin/PA Wire

A nurse prepares a syringe. Picture: David Cheskin/PA Wire

PA Wire/Press Association Images

The health trust that runs Newham University Hospital has more nursing vacancies than any other trust in London.

Barts Health NHS Trust had 1044 vacancies as of July last year, according to figures released by the Royal College of Nursing.

This equates to 19 per cent of nursing posts within its five hospitals.

The shortage of nurses is replicated across London, with over 10,000 posts, or 17pc, vacant.

The figures are much higher than the national average of 10pc, something that the RCN’s regional director, Bernell Bussue, believes is due to the high cost of living in the capital.

He said: “The problem is partly down to shortsighted workforce planning which saw training posts cut in the past, meaning there aren’t enough home grown nurses coming through the system.

“Most importantly, the ongoing pay freeze imposed by the Government means that nursing staff increasingly just can’t afford to live and work in London.”

He called on the government to give nurses a pay rise that would allow them to settle down in London and address the staffing shortages.

London Assembly Member, John Biggs, called the shortage of nurses “a worrying problem”.

He said: “It’s staggering that the Health Secretary has allowed London’s nursing shortage to reach this level, especially as the warning signs have been there for a long time.

“Over recent years we’ve seen a devastating mix of NHS cuts, reductions in nurse training posts and bursaries, and low morale brought about by increasing work pressures.

“It’s little wonder that fewer people are attracted to nursing and that those who are in the profession want out.”

A spokesman for Barts Health NHS Trust explained the high number of vacancies was in part due to the opening of a new specialist facility at St Bartholomew’s Hospital

He said: “We experienced a sudden rise in vacancy rate due to the opening of the Barts Heart Centre in early 2015 and a decision to recruit an extra 500 additional nursing and midwifery staff to ensure safe and compassionate care.

“However we are committed to reducing our overall vacancy rate as part of a dedicated recruitment campaign and in particular to convert vacancies filled by temporary and agency staff into permanent posts.”

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