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Wednesday, 16 April 2014

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Shortfall of hospital consultants

THE NHS Trust which runs the West Cumberland Hospital is facing a shortfall of 60 medical consultants.

North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust is undergoing a recruitment campaign, including looking overseas, to boost the numbers from 149 consultants to 210.

Inadequate staffing levels and an over-reliance on locum cover in some areas was highlighted as an “urgent action’’ in last summer’s Keogh Report.

In a report to the trust board, Jeremy Rushmer, medical director at the NCUH, said the trust was tackling the high costs of locums by ensuring they were signed up by the end of January 2014, to one agreement meaning all locums work on the same terms and conditions.

Mr Rushmer said: “The current performance issues within medical staffing at NCUH need to be kept under constant review and proposals for improved recruitment support are vital for the delivery of board ambitions.”

Newly-recruited consultants include: Ms Andrene Hamilton, obstetrics and gynaecology, (WCH); Dr Jason Gane, paediatrics (WCH); Dr Chris Dickson, anaesthetics (Cumberland Infirmary); Dr Kim Varma, dermatology; Mr Dinesh Moga, obstetrics and gynaecology; and Mr Loganathan Arunan, colorectal.

A spokesperson said: “One of the trust’s safety priorities has been to reduce the number of locums in the hospitals by 50 per cent by recruiting more substantive consultants through a new and active recruitment campaign.

“Locums provide cover for services to ensure that we continue to provide safe services for our patients, but our long-term plan is to appoint substantive consultants to these roles.

“Our recruitment campaign is showing signs of success and we have recruited 20 new consultants since September 2012.

“We will also have a number of new consultants joining in the New Year.”

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