Stafford Hospital struggling to recruit doctors and nurses
Nearly a quarter of consultants jobs at Stafford Hospital are currently vacant - with bosses blaming the site's uncertain future for the struggle recruiting staff.
Reputation, competition and uncertainty about the future of services have been blamed for the difficulty in recruiting doctors by Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.
New figures show there are 117 consultant posts at Stafford Hospital of which 26 are vacant.
Most of the vacancies are filled by locum doctors but there are gaps in acute surgery, elderly medicine and radiology departments, which the trust has outlined as major areas of concern.
Chief executive Maggie Oldham said: "As has been the situation for some time, recruitment of both nursing staff and consultants continues to be very difficult due to reputational issues, competition and, until recently, uncertainty about future of services.
"University Hospital of North Staffordshire and the Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals are providing the Trust with as much help as they can and we are grateful to them for this support."
A report written by the Trust to Staffordshire County Council said: "There is limited medical leadership available to provide support to the executive and leadership to clinical specialties.
"University Hospital of North Staffordshire and the Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals are providing as much help as they can."
The number of nurses at the hospital is also of concern, despite a recruitment drive which saw four staff taken on in May.
A further recruitment event will be held in September with the long-term aim of reducing the number of agency nurses the trust uses to cover staff shortages.
Bosses say the vacancy rate among nurses remains 'challenging,' and the recent departure of nurses who came to support the opening of the escalation ward for winter pressures has resulted in an increase in vacancies and further concern around the stability of nurse staffing levels.
Stafford Hospital campaigner Cheryl Porter said she believes the trust is blaming its reputation as the reason for being unable to attract new staff.
She said: "The trust is blaming the reputation of the hospital for being unable to recruit nurses and fill the 26 positions but I think it has more to do with the uncertainty of the whole TSA process.
"In May almost 40 nurses applied for four positions at the hospital which I think is a good number and goes to show that people do want to work here.
"I think people are worried about the uncertainty of the future of services and what is happening with the hospital at the minute.
"In order to recruit people to fill these positions the hospital needs to give them a sense of security and let them know that their jobs are safe and paint a positive picture."
Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will take over the running of Cannock Hospital later this year when the Mid Staffs trust is dissolved with services at Stafford Hospital being stripped.
Councillor Rowan Draper said: "We do not have a recruitment problem, the trust has a resolution problem because people do not want to work for a Trust that is going to be dissolved.
"The trust needs to give people assurances that they will have job security rather than fighting between themselves."
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