The South London Mental Health Partnership (SLP) has been awarded £800k in funding from Health Education England to attract and recruit mental health nurses.
The funding will be used to help address mental health nurse recruitment and retention challenges across South London.
The nursing development programme is another collaborative approach from the South London Mental Health Partnership which compromises: South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust (SWLSTG), South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust. The partnership is leading change across organisations to improve career development pathways.
A recent NHS Employers survey of registered nurses (December 2015) found that in South London, 18 per cent of registered nurse posts were vacant, and that mental health community and inpatient posts were the most difficult to recruit to.
The trusts are committed to developing new roles, particularly for our health care assistants, to help meet the needs of service users, as well as maximising their ability to recruit and retain our newly qualified nurses. The trusts also recognise that other professions and branches of nursing may provide another resource that can help respond to these needs.
SWLSTG Chief Executive David Bradley said: “This project presents a unique opportunity for sector wide collaboration between 3 trusts and to shape and inform the career development opportunities for nurses working in mental health on a national basis.
“Work is already underway within the three trusts to address the recruitment and retention challenge. South West London and St George’s for example, has developed a Clinical Development and Support Package outlining the range of opportunities the trust will provide to band 5 to 7 Nurses.
“This initiative is collaboration for the South London Mental Health Partnership- which is the first of its kind in London. By coming together to focus on innovation and sharing we will be better able to protect our services and improve the lives of hundreds and thousands of people who live with mental illness across south London.”
South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust Chief Executive Dr Matthew Patrick said: “The recruitment and retention of practitioners and nurses is a very real challenge for our trusts and I hope this programme will make a real difference, share learning, expertise and innovation to help us drive up quality across the South London Mental Health Partnership. Our organisations have much in common and by working together we will be able to make sure mental health services are sustainable.”
Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust Chief Executive Ben Travis said: ”All trusts face the same challenge in trying to recruit and retain certain key staff. We’ll have more impact if we join forces to try to meet the challenge head on. The South London Mental Health Partnership is one of the ways we are trying to do this.”