THEIR struggle to recruit staff has been well documented. But it appears NHS Lothian has found a secret weapon in its drive to attract new workers – its own employees.
The health board has set up a website to attract neonatal nurses to the Capital, after increasing the number of intensive care cots to look after the region’s sickest babies.
Bosses roped in staff nurses Cara Hobby, Simon Glen and Lynn Clark to speak about their experiences of working with the poorly infants at the Royal Infirmary before the results were uploaded online.
And it appears their testimony has led to an explosion in interest, with almost five responses for every one of the 11.5 posts that have been created.
Maria Wilson, NHS Lothian’s chief midwife, said: “We are really pleased with the response.
“Letting people hear directly from our staff about their experience of working in the unit and living in Edinburgh really seems to have helped spark interest in the jobs.
“We had more than 50 responses so far and are hopeful of being able to fill all the posts we need to increase the number of cots in the unit to allow us to care for more babies and their families.”
Advances in neonatal care, which have meant premature babies who would previously not have survived now have a chance at life, has increased the need for more intensive care cots and highly skilled staff.
Intensive care cots are set to increase from seven to nine, meaning there will be 39 in total in the Royal Infirmary’s neonatal unit.
The nurse posts attract salaries of between £21,000 and £34,000, with NHS Lothian promising a “better work-life balance” as the Capital offers “all the benefits of a major city but at a more relaxed pace.”
There have been fears at the health board that the waiting times and bullying scandals, which engulfed NHS Lothian last year had contributed to their recruitment problem, putting workers off applying for roles in the region.
A report published last year revealed that an “undermining, intimidating, demeaning, threatening and hostile working environment” existed in parts of NHS Lothian.
But all three staff taking part in the recruitment drive were quick to emphasise the “supportive” atmosphere at the health board.
Ms Hobby, who moved to Edinburgh from Nottingham, said: “I definitely think one of the benefits of working for NHS Lothian is the support that you get. It’s always drilled in to you that they’re there to support you if you need anything.”
Mr Glen added: “NHS Lothian is very supportive. I am looking to advance my career as a nurse by becoming an advanced nurse practitioner and they are very keen to support me in that role.”