Mental health trust looking to recruit hundreds of additional nurses – Nursing Times

‘This is a situation that cannot go on indefinitely’
16 May, 2022 By
Source:&nbsp Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust
A North London mental health trust has set out plans to secure 260 additional nurses as part of a drive to fill existing empty posts, ensure more people are cared for closer to home and address increased demand born out of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust (BEH) has launched what it claims is its biggest recruitment campaign in history, to try and recruit more than 400 local people to come and work as nurses, therapists, doctors and in other healthcare roles at the organisation.
“We want to attract more staff from the local population who reflect the diverse nature of those people”
Amanda Pithouse
As a provider of both mental health and community health services, BEH serves a population of 1.2million people and employs more than 3,300 staff.
But the trust’s chief nurse, Amanda Pithouse, told Nursing Times that the nursing workforce was one of the organisation’s “biggest challenges”.
It currently has 170 nurse vacancies across mental health, learning disabilities, adult and children’s nurses which it hopes to address through its new campaign called Someone Like Me.
In addition, BEH is looking to fill a further 90 new registered nurse jobs which have been created under funding provided to community mental health services through the NHS Long Term Plan in England.
The new recruitment campaign looks to showcase the working lives of those within the trust, as well as the diversity of colleagues in post, in a bid to try and encourage more local people to consider a career with BEH.
“We want staff to be the people who are attracting other staff to work with, rather than it being a top-down type of initiative,” explained Ms Pithouse, who pointed to a recruitment campaign video the trust has created.
“We know that when we attract the staff from the local population, we tend to keep them.
“So, we want to attract more staff from the local population who reflect the diverse nature of those people.”
Although she felt there was already “a lot of diversity” in the trust, Ms Pithouse said the organisation wanted to make this “much richer”, including having staff from varied minority ethnic backgrounds and with disabilities.
Ms Pithouse explained that as the largest workforce, it was “crucially important” to fill nurse vacancies and focus on retention efforts to “ensure that we are delivering safe and therapeutic care on the frontline to our service users”.
“It’s not only the normal turnover of staff, we are also opening up new roles in community services in order to meet demand and transform services”
Amanda Pithouse
It was her belief that national recruitment campaigns had focused on the “stereotype of an acute nurse in a uniform”, which meant individuals do not fully understand the variety of roles the nursing profession has to offer.
“We need to get those messages out there to say, ‘it’s not just nurses in uniforms, who work in those busy acute trusts, you can go into mental health, you can go into learning disabilities’,” she said.
It was also her mission as chief nurse to ensure there were good career progression opportunities for colleagues.
For example, Ms Pithouse said she wanted to see individuals start as a healthcare assistant and stay at BEH to work their way up to chief nurse, if that was something they wanted to do.
“So, we’ve been working really hard to put structures in place in order to give people those development opportunities to enable that to happen,” she explained.

Amanda Pithouse
To ensure the trust was also able to grow its placement offering for local mental health nursing students, work was also being done to train more existing staff up as “mentors” to support students in the clinical setting.
Part of the trust’s recruitment plans aims to help the organisation implement what it has described as “new ways of working”, including a focus on treating more people closer to where they live.
“We are doing a whole piece of work trying to transform our community mental health services in order to deliver care closer to home [and] avoid inpatient admission,” explained Ms Pithouse, who is also chief nurse at Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust.
“Obviously, we need more staff to be able to do that [and] to respond to people in crisis.
“So, it’s not only the normal turnover of staff that any organisation would have, we are also opening up new roles in the community services in order to meet that demand and transform services.”
The trust has also recently opened a new inpatient facility which includes an eating disorders inpatient service and three acute mental health wards.
The organisation also recognised the sharp increase in demand for mental health services since the pandemic and said the additional staff would play a “vital role” in helping to care for those impacted.
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