NHS Grampian has recruited more than a hundred new nurses this year, their governing body announced yesterday.
A total of 186 extra nursing and midwifery staff have hit the wards over the last year, with the number of consultant vacancies halving during the same period.
The news came at a meeting of the NHS Grampian board on Thursday during which members were asked to approve a new workforce action plan which pledges to continue the recruitment drive.
NHS Grampian, which is the North East’s largest employer, also confirmed its total workforce rose to 14,442 people, an increase of 1.25% from 2015.
Dr Annie Ingram, director of workforce at NHS Grampian, said the organisation had made significant strides forward in its effort to attract new recruits but that there were still too many vacancies.
She said: “We’ve made huge progress over the last year but, like other public sector organisations in Grampian, we face challenges in recruiting. That is particularly the case for nursing and some medical roles.
“Despite recruiting an extra 186 nurses over the last year – and that’s on top of replacing those who have retired or left the organisation – we still have too many vacancies.
There are currently around 400 vacant nursing and midwifery posts in NHS Grampian, which the organisation has been trying to fill through a Return to Practice scheme.
Ingram continued: “Long term however, we also need to ensure that we are able to attract experienced medical professionals from further afield – whether that is from elsewhere in the UK or from abroad.
“That’s certainly a challenge for NHS Grampian, as it is for all public sector organisations in our area – largely because of the high cost of housing in the north east.
“That means we’ve got to find different ways of attracting people and the proposed “Key Worker Accommodation” is a critical part of that and will allow us to offer accommodation to more than 200 staff who can fill vital clinical vacancies.
Dr Ingram said the proposal to build the key worker accommodation was at an advanced stage with a formal planning application for 110 houses due to go before Aberdeen City Councillors shortly.