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Fully staffed means over budget

Fully staffed means over budget

Tuesday 13 August 2019

Fully staffed means over budget

Health services cannot afford to be fully staffed without going over budget because of a States pay factor that works on the assumption that there will always be vacancies.

A "vacancy factor" is in place across the States that bases pay budgets on the fact that services are not historically fully staffed.

This means that a successful cross-committee recruitment drive for acute nurses will come at a cost. 

"It is expected that this year HSC will overspend its budget and the principle reason for this is down to its own success," the committee said. "Due to an excellent recruitment drive, at the end of June 2018 there were 83 registered nurse vacancies within acute services and we are expecting a reduction to just 29 vacancies by September."

"A vacancy factor, which basically represents a percentage cut in the pay budget, is in place on the basis that, in common with the rest of the States of Guernsey, HSC has never been able to fully recruit before. In effect, the pay budget is lower than it should be were HSC fully staffed. The use of the vacancy factor now needs to be questioned."

Introducing a 'super numerary' scheme that increases the amount of mentoring that  junior nurses get in the first few months of employment has improved staff retention. However, it too has expended extra resources. 

And while recruitment into acute nursing has increased, HSC President Heidi Soulsby said it was still proving difficult to find staff in community nursing and social care.


Pictured: Deputy Heidi Soulsby. 

Meanwhile, deadlines have been missed by Policy & Resources to settle nurses claims for a pay rise, which were supposed to be met by the end of June. 

Added to that are the additional costs that are incurred every time that agency staff and locums are required. 

"There is no slack in the budget to be able to cope with issues that arise and can’t be predicted. There have been a number of unprecedented issues that have arisen this year that have required expensive locum cover for which there is no budget.

"There is no cushion should anything happens that we cannot foresee and we have 2,000 staff so unforeseen things do happen," said Deputy Soulsby. 

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