Recruitment scheme sees trust offer staff extra annual leave

York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is offering its staff the incentive of an extra day's holiday if they recommend a nurse who goes on to work for the trust or its nurse bank

One NHS hospital trust is trialling a new nurse recruitment scheme which awards staff earn extra holiday if they recommend somebody who is appointed.

York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is piloting the incentive as part of a wider recruitment drive to fill 50 band 5 nursing vacancies, but the RCN has called the measures ‘counter-intuitive’. 

Any staff member at the trust is rewarded with an extra day of holiday if they nominate a nurse who then works at the trust for at least three months, or joins its in-house nurse bank and works six bank shifts in the first three months.

RCN regional director for the Yorkshire and the Humber region, Glenn Turp, said that a reduction in the number of nurse training places coupled with budget and staff cuts to meet government saving targets has left many trusts ‘really struggling to recruit the nursing staff they need’.

He said: ‘Many [trusts] are considering new ways to find staff or go overseas to recruit, however, the proposals by York Hospital seem counter-intuitive. It doesn’t make sense to reward staff with an extra day off when trying to plug staffing gaps.  Potentially, it could just make the situation worse.  

‘Foundations trusts like York do have the freedom to award special financial "premia" to attract and retain staff.  This would be a more effective way to recruit.’  

The idea for the incentive came through the trust’s staff suggestion scheme, it said.  The trust said it had costed the scheme against what it currently pays to fill nursing vacancies with agency staff on an ad-hoc basis.  If the scheme leads to appointments of three months or more, there will be a financial benefit.  

There will also be a benefit for patients in reducing the use of agency staff and providing greater continuity of care, the trust has said.

A trust spokesperson said: ‘If it proves successful, we may consider making this available for other posts that are hard to recruit to.’

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