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Private provider says its ‘robust nursing pipeline’ can benefit NHS

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A large private provider says it is finding it harder than ever to fill its staffing vacancies, but is optimistic that its investment in nursing apprenticeships and overseas recruitment can help expand NHS-commissioned capacity.

In an interview with HSJ, Shelley Thomas, group HR director for Spire Healthcare, said the company is facing the same staffing difficulties as NHS providers.

She said: “We’re all feeling the same things at the moment… high sickness absence, high holidays, teams that are worn out. We’re all… experiencing the same from a workforce perspective.”

However, she said Spire is “working harder than ever” to fill vacancies, and now has a “really robust pipeline” of apprentices and oversees recruits.

Despite the waiting list backlogs which have ballooned since the pandemic began, and a £10bn framework in place for the NHS to utilise private sector capacity, analysis suggests NHS activity undertaken by private hospitals has been below pre-covid levels in almost all specialities.

Ms Thomas suggested the staffing difficulties had been a factor in that, but acknowledged there were more conversations to be had locally about how the private sector could undertake more activity.

She said the pandemic was a “huge catalyst for stronger working partnerships” between the NHS and the private sector and that relationships are “stronger than they’ve ever been”.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 4 August 2022

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