A nursing home struggling to attract talent who has resorted to paying new joiners a £500 ‘golden hello’ has been criticised for potentially ‘moving’ a skills shortage to the NHS.
Newcross Healthcare Solutions, which has 40 homes nationwide, began running the scheme in June in a effort to attract and retain good nurses in the private sector.
Recent figures show that nurse vacancy rates in social care were running at nine per cent, compared to seven per cent in the NHS. Meanwhile the UK’s largest nursing homes have reported a 55 per cent rise in using agency workers to fill in the gaps.
30 per cent of nurses in care homes are over 55, compared to just 13 per cent in the NHS, are exacerbating the problems as more care home nurses are close to retirement. At the same time there are nearly 4,000 fewer newly qualified nurses leaving university each year than in 2013.
However criticism has been aimed at the golden hello, as if it is copied by other homes, could cause more nurses to leave the NHS for good and join the private sector – simply moving skills shortages elsewhere.
MSP Rhoda Grant said: “I can understand why many NHS nurses would see the offer from Newcross Healthcare to be an appealing option. This is especially so given the company is offering a golden hello and potentially better pay and conditions than many nurses will currently be receiving from the NHS. At the moment NHS workers are on lower pay, have unsociable shift patterns and have very little chance of seeing a pay rise over the next few years.”
A spokesperson from Newcross Heathcare Solutions said that it was offering flexible shift patterns which would allow NHS staff to top up their hours by working an extra shift or two each week for them.
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