Majority of new nurses at Walsall Manor Hospital will be from Italy and Greece

The majority of new nurses at Walsall Manor Hospital will be recruited from Italy and Greece it has been revealed, with meetings planned this month, bosses have said

Majority of new nurses at Walsall Manor Hospital will be from Italy and Greece

Walsall Healthcare NHS has agreed to a £3.5 million investment in more than 80 registered nurses and 35 care support workers.

Health chiefs have started the recruitment process which will see officials speak with potential recruits from Rome and Greece. If this fails they will then look towards Croatia.

However, it is expected at least 20 student nurses will be taken on locally, with the aim of having the staffing positions filled around September time.

More than 30 care support workers have already been recruited and are beginning to start their roles at the Manor. It comes after it emerged nurses from Ireland had snubbed the chance to fill vacant posts.

Director of nursing Kathryn Halford said: "In terms of the nurses we gave got several lines of recruitment.

"The only thing that I think would hold us up is going to Europe in their summer. If we go in May we should get through their processes."

The investment was agreed to ensure the hospital has enough ward staff to cover shifts and to cut expenditure on temporary workers.

It had been hoped to see nurses recruited from Ireland in an attempt to get new staff in more quickly, but the trust has now been forced to look further afield.

The hospital has been struggling to cope with rising admissions which have seen growing numbers of patients coming in from Staffordshire due to the re-organisation of critical care services at the County Hospital, formerly Stafford Hospital, and at Cannock Hospital.

Latest figures showed the bill for temporary workers rose by more than £160,000 to £1.7m in a month.

The level of expenditure increased on agency, locum and paying staff for overtime during March, compared to February, the previous month.

There was £871,000 spent on agency workers, an increase of £182,000 on February, as money used on overtime went up from £513,000 to £528,000.

The amount spent on locum staff dropped from £363,000 in February to £329,000 in March.

Bosses at the Manor are braced for a £17.7m black hole this year – as the hospital's bosses battle to bring finances under control. The trust which runs the hospital has faced increasing pressures, which has led to a £12.9m deficit over the last 12 months.

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