Following a critical report from the Care Quality Commission on their use of temporary and agency midwives and to cope with a rising demand for the service NHS Peterborough has embarked on a recruitment campaign to employ more permanent midwifery staff. Chris Wilkinson Director of Nursing at NHS Peterborough talks to the BBC’s Paul Stainton at 07:35 on Tuesday 13th July 2010 in the Peterborough Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.
PAUL: Peterborough’s hospitals have recruited over thirty new midwives. It comes after a critical report that said they relied too heavily on temporary agency staff. Chris Wilkinson is the Director of Nursing in Peterborough. Morning Chris.
CHRIS: Good morning.
PAUL: .. This is great news isn’t it? You’re doing this really well. You’re well ahead of schedule.
CHRIS: This is fabulous news. We’re really delighted with our recruitment campaign. It’s been very very successful, and we’ve had an exceptional response from midwives around the country.
PAUL: The CQC said you relied too much on agency staff. Has that been addressed now? Are these all full-time midwives?
CHRIS: Yes. What we’ve done is we’ve recruited over thirty full-time midwives. Now some of those have not started with us yet. Some are finishing their training programmes and some are working through their notice period with their current employers. But once they all start with us we’ll have done really well, and we’ll be ahead of our schedule. Up until that point we’ve put other measures in place, and we are using our temporary staff in the meantime, but we’re very well on track with our recruitment plan.
PAUL: Where you do you get all these people from? Have you been poaching them from other authorities?
CHRIS: Well we haven’t poached. We had a really good national recruitment campaign, and we have some things that will attract people to us. We have a very good Head of Midwifery who’s really helping the team to come together and looks (?) very well at the future and new service delivery. We are also of course due to move to our lovely new facilities at Peterborough City Hospital at the end of the year, and it will be a state of the art facility to care for these ladies who are giving birth to their babies.
PAUL: How many roles did you want to fill, and how many have you actually appointed so far?
CHRIS: We were looking to recruit around forty midwives over the next couple of years, and as I say we’ve offered to thirty two people.
PAUL: That is brilliant. that is absolutely brilliant.
CHRIS: Yes it’s superb, isn’t it?
PAUL: A consultant nurse has also been appointed. What’s that? What do they do?
CHRIS: A consultant midwife post is in our plan.We’re going to be looking at recruiting for that post early next year. The consultant posts are really posts that can look at taking the service forward ,looking at service models and being very visionary in the way that they can go forward, looking across ther whole healthcare economy, not just in the hospital but in the community. And they have a strong focus on things like auditing services, researching new methods, and giving consultancy advice really.
PAUL: What’s caused the need for all these extra midwives? Some people point to the large percentage of foreign national births in Peterborough. I think statistics for two thousand and eight show thirty seven per cent of live births in Peterborough were to mothers from outside the UK. Has that put a struggle on resources?
CHRIS: I think it’s several different factors. We did have a vacancy factor, and we had a bit of turnover of staff, and we also were seeing a rise in the birth rate, not just from people from outside the Peterborough area but within the Peterborough area as well, with all the new building that we have around the city. So it really was a combination. It’s not one single factor.
PAUL: Well we’ll let you get on. You’ve still got a few more posts to fill and you’re doing very well so far. Chris, thank you very much for that.