Fifth of nursing posts unfilled at Coventry hospital

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University Hospital, Coventry has the highest shortfall of nurses in the West Midlands

A fifth of the nursing workforce is lacking at a Coventry Trust, which has the highest nurses vacancies in the West Midlands.

Nationally, the nurses vacancy figure is 9% but at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, stands at 19%.

A BBC survey also found the hospital has the second highest shortage of doctors in the region.

The Royal College of Nurses says the shortfall is down to lack of training.

There were 2,296 nurses vacancies in the West Midlands in December 2015, of which 484 were at University Hospital, Coventry.

These figures come from a Freedom of Information request by the BBC for NHS staffing figures across England.

Paul Vaughan, from the Royal College of Nursing, said: "Certainly in the West Midlands we need to be training more nurses. There's not a shortage of people who apply [to train as nurses].

"The government are now changing their NHS bursary scheme. Getting rid of the bursary scheme will potentially stop people from applying to be a nurse."

The Department of Health released a statement saying: "We want more home-grown nurses but currently two-thirds of people who apply for nursing are not accepted.

"Our changes to student support will create up to 10,000 more training spaces by 2020, and we are also running a campaign to get experienced nurses back to work."

But Mr Vaughan said he did not see how these changes would help.

"At a time when we need more nurses, why are they changing the system so radically?" he said.

Nurses vacancies

On 1 December 2015:

University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire had 484 posts (19%)

Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust had 177 posts (16%)

The Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust had 46 nurse vacancies in 2014; this rose to 347 in 2015.

The University Hospital of North Midlands NHS Trust had 145 nurse vacancies in 2013, compared to 306 in 2015.

University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire released a statement saying: "Despite challenges in recruitment nationally, we are confident that we provide our patients with safe, high-quality care.

"In addition to our permanent nurses, we also have access to a bank of staff to address any temporary shortages in staffing."

These FoI request figures are based on results from 16 NHS Trusts in the West Midlands who responded.

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