HEALTH bosses say the trust which runs Colchester Hospital is bucking the national trend and has a low nursing vacancy rate, despite hundreds of vacancies being advertised last year.

NHS Digital data shows the equivalent of at least 556 full-time nursing and midwifery jobs were advertised by the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS trust between July 2018 and June this year.

The vacancies made up 28 per cent of the roles advertised by the trust over the same period.

Workforce data shows it employed 2,530 full-time nurses, health visitors and midwives as of May, which made up 31 per cent of its workforce.

Nationally, nursing and midwifery vacancies accounted for about 148,000 of 342,000 vacancies, about 43 per cent.

Catherine Morgan, chief nurse at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Colchester, Harwich and Clacton hospitals, said there was a very low nursing vacancy rate at Colchester Hospital.

She said: “We are very pleased to say we’re bucking national trends.

“There has not been an increase in nursing vacancies at the trust and we have a low nursing vacancy rate.

“We are proud so many nurses, midwives, healthcare assistants and assistant practitioners want to come and work for us.”

The Royal College of Nursing said the national rise in advertised posts was being fuelled by European Union workers returning home and the Government’s failure to train enough nurses domestically.

Patricia Marquis, the Royal College of Nursing’s England director, said: “These alarming figures should have been a wake-up call but instead we are still lacking a comprehensive workforce strategy that addresses the reasons nursing staff are leaving, whether that’s inflexible working or intolerable working conditions.

“The nursing shortage needs short and long-term solutions, including immediate investment of £1 billion annually in nursing supply.”

An NHS spokesman said the number of nurses, midwives and health visitors employed in the NHS in England is growing.

He said: “We are taking a number of steps to accelerate that progress, including launching the We are the NHS recruitment campaign, which has seen a 4.5 per cent increase in nursing applications, funding thousands more clinical placements for those in training, and rolling out successful nurse retention programmes, including to primary care.”