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Trust Bucks National Trend with Minimal Vacancies

Trust Bucks National Trend with Minimal Vacancies

Date of release: 12 May 2021

To mark International Nurses Day, The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT) is proud to announce it now has minimal nursing vacancies and a waiting list for full-time midwifery staff. There are around 36,000 unfilled nursing posts across the NHS, but the Trust is retaining its own staff and seeking more. Currently the Trust has around 3,000 Registered General Nurses (RGNs), 500 more than in 2019.

Latest News: Trust Bucks National Trend with Minimal Vacancies - Jennie Lewis
Jennie Lewis, Junior Sister, who is studying for a Masters degree which the Trust allows her time to study for through the Clinical Fellowship Programme


A unique selling point of the Trust is its award-winning Clinical Fellowship Programme (CFP), an ‘earn, learn and return’ scheme for UK and international nurses. The CFP recruits nurses and retains our registered nursing workforce through continual professional development in partnership with the University of Wolverhampton, funding degrees at BSc and MSc level.

In many countries, nurses need to have a diploma, rather than the degree that has been the requirement here since 2003, so the CFP upskills those that come from outside the UK. The CFP offers nurses a placement for up to three years, creating a pipeline of experienced international nurses. The offer to support staff with study also helps address the reduction in funding for academic learning beyond registration.

In 2018, the Trust had 250 vacancies for registered nurses but through the CFP, there are now only minimal vacancies and a waiting list for midwifery staff. A total of 400 have been recruited to the CFP from 13 nationalities. In a recent survey from nurses on the CFP, 99 per cent recommended RWT as a place to work. The organisation also showed higher scores than other trusts in nine out of 10 core themes in the 2020 NHS Staff Survey, along with a year-on-year increase in staff satisfaction levels. In the 2020 Nursing Times Workforce Summit Awards, the Trust’s CFP was voted Best UK Employer for Nursing Staff and won the Best Diversity and Inclusion Practice category.

Due to its negligible vacancies, RWT is the lead recruiter for the Black Country and West Birmingham Sustainability Transformation Partnership (STP), supplying 400 nurses to the STP’s other trusts – Walsall, Sandwell and West Birmingham, Dudley Group and Black Country Healthcare Trust.

The success of the CFP means nurses who qualify at RWT can remain here if they wish. We currently have 40 students on paid placements due to graduate at the end of May and 90 qualifying in the autumn. We expect to maintain our typical retention rate of 75 to 80 per cent for those cohorts.

Jennie Lewis, Junior Sister, 43, has worked at the Trust since qualifying in 1999, joining the Integrated Critical Care Unit as Staff Nurse before being promoted to Senior Staff Nurse and Clinical Sister before her current post. Jennie also spends a third of her time as Clinical Education Facilitator, nurturing the team while studying for a Masters degree in Professional Practice and Healthcare which the Trust allows her time to study for through the CFP. She said: “It makes me feel very valued that the Trust are supporting me so much, and everything I learn, I pass that knowledge on to others.”

Professor Ann-Marie Cannaby, Chief Nurse, said: “In 2018, against a backdrop of vacancies, we asked ourselves ‘Why would a nurse want to work here?’ We needed to create the right conditions for them to flourish. We realised it wasn’t all about caring for patients, it was also about having the environment and opportunities to develop themselves and we have done that. We are coming through COVID-19 with minimal vacancies and with staff who are happy here.”

Professor David Loughton CBE, Chief Executive, said: “We are proud to have some of the highest retention rates for nursing staff in the region. The rich, diverse nature of our region is also reflected across the cultural breadth and depth of our staff, which we’re also extremely proud of.”

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Notes to Editor

Press release issued by the Communications team. For more information contact the team on 01902 695884
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