THE nursing vacancy rate at Bradford Teaching Hospital is above the national average according to figures released by the trust.

Research by the Labour party revealed that nationally the NHS has more than 100,000 vacant posts and that the average nurse vacancy rate in England is 12.2 per cent.

The current nursing vacancy rate at Bradford Teaching Hospitals is 13.2 per cent.

Pat Campbell, director of human resources at the trust, said the figure is in part due to new units opening at the hospital.

She said: “In line with other trusts, nursing recruitment remains particularly challenging for us and we have recently opened new services to improve patient care, including the clinical decisions unit at Bradford Royal Infirmary, which have required extra nursing capacity.

“We have just launched a Facebook recruitment campaign for nurses and are also looking at how clinical roles can evolve to provide skilled support to ward teams.

“We continue to recruit well into midwifery posts and while medical recruitment remains stable, we have challenges in particular specialties which are mirrored across the area.

“Our focus on recruiting and retaining our staff will continue to be a priority as we strive to maintain an appropriate and diverse workforce to meet our patients’ needs.”

In comparison, the nursing vacancy rate at Airedale Hospital is 8.1 per cent.

But the vacancy rate for doctors is 16.5 per cent, which is well above the national average estimated by Labour of 9.3 per cent.

There is currently a total of 110 full-time equivalent unfilled jobs at the trust.

Jill Asbury, director of nursing at Airedale, said: “Across the NHS clinical roles are evolving to focus on supporting the traditional roles of ‘nurse’ and ‘doctor’. We have a number of schemes to do this.

"For example, in partnership with Keighley College we have taken on 40 healthcare support worker apprentices over the last 12 months and we are one of 11 sites nationally to pilot the new nursing associate role which aims to support the registered nurse.

"New roles have also been introduced to support the discharge process.

"We have a number of Advanced Clinical Practitioners that support the work traditionally undertaken by doctors and we are part of the training circuit for the new physician’s associate role to support our doctors.

“We continue to focus on nurse and doctor recruitment, promoting Airedale as a great place to live and work.

“Our workforce, and that of the wider NHS, will continue to change and develop and we will always look at the art of the possible, to ensure we give our patients the best possible care and our staff the best opportunities to develop."

Imran Hussain, Labour MP for Bradford East, said: “It is absolutely clear that there is a serious staffing shortage in our NHS that is putting the safety of patients at risk, and after years of attacks on the health service by this Tory Government with funding cuts, staff pay freezes and the abolition of student nursing bursaries, it is easy to see why.

“Under this Government, the NHS is haemorrhaging experienced staff according to the Royal College of Nursing, and it is worrying that rather than improving the treatment of staff, and enshrining safe staffing levels in law, the Government continues to force hospitals to rely on temporary agency staff in dangerous and expensive quantities.

“Bradford and West Yorkshire fare particularly badly from high levels of NHS staffing vacancies, with a worrying dependence on temporary staff, and I fully support the bid by the University of Bradford to open a new Medical School in the City, as well as Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary’s calls for a sustainable, fully funded plan to get the right number of staff in place to keep patients safe.”