Nurses and medical staff offered £3,000 welcome bonus in bid to address worker shortages at NHS mental health trust serving Sunderland and South Tyneside

Nurses and other medical staff are being offered golden handshake bonuses of £3,000 for joining one of the health trust running key services in Sunderland, South Tyneside and across the North East in a bid to address staffing shortages.

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Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) provides mental health and disability services across the North East and north Cumbria.

Bosses say the are offering the bonus to all new appointments of registered nursing and medical posts in inpatient services to encourage recruitment onto wards, and support staff in helping to address short-term shortages.

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The new scheme will start on December 27 and bosses say the incentive agreement will be reviewed on an annual basis.

Gary O’Hare, chief nurse at the Trust, said the incentive is part of the Trust’s ongoing commitment to the health and wellbeing of its staff.

It will see £1,500 on appointment to be included in the employee’s first salary, another £750 after one year, and a further £750 after another year.

“We are aware we are living and working through unprecedented times. Our staff have been placed under enormous strain through the pandemic and have responded admirably to the challenge, but we recognise the day-to-day difficulties in maintaining the right staffing levels,” said Mr O’Hare.

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“Having a full qualified staffing complement, if achieved, would help produce further savings and more importantly enable us to provide a more therapeutic and supportive environment on wards.

"We will continue to explore further options for incentivising staff to join the Trust and support improvements to help meet the needs of the people we serve.”

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Mr O’Hare said CNTW has introduced a number of initiatives to make wellbeing a priority, including the ‘Thrive’ website launched earlier in 2021 – designed to be a ‘one stop shop’ for health and wellbeing information.

He said the website follows the principle of the Trust’s ‘wellbeing star’, which reflects the holistic nature of individual wellbeing, adding ‘the six points of the star’ all aim to support good overall health and wellbeing for staff: Career, Social, Physical, Emotional, Psychological and Financial.

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More information on the Rewarding Welcome, Rewarding Career incentive is available online at www.cntw.nhs.uk/reward

Terms and conditions are available at www.cntw.nhs.uk/reward