NURSES in Southend and Basildon could get “premium” golden handcuffs bonuses as part of a determined effort to keep them in their jobs reports the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
Mid and South Essex NHS Trust – which runs Basildon, Southend and Broomfield hospitals – is to explore handing nurses an extra ten per cent of their salary at six months in the job and another at two years after they have started.
The move is designed to encourage highly-trained and respected staff to remain in south Essex where the NHS has battled staffing shortages and a costly reliance on agency staff for many years.
A report to the trust board from the trust management executive stressed the proposal was at an early stage, but added options for a premium retention payments were being considered.
The report added: “The North East London NHS Trust model was reviewed and considered which paid nurses 10 per cent of their salary at six months and two years.
“These payments would be reclaimed if the individual left the organisation within the 12-month period following the payment. The executive noted the need to be clear on exactly which groups of staff this would apply to as there were many hard to recruit areas. It was agreed that further proposals would be worked up and brought back to the meeting.”
The hospitals’ proximity to London has caused problems as the trust competes with extra London weighting payments available to staff within in relatively close proximity.
A spokesperson for the Save Southend NHS campaign group, said: “It is essential for all employers of nursing staff outside of London to adopt a recruitment and retention policy for staff to try and prevent them leaving for higher paid jobs in London or its fringes which offer additional payments.
“In light of the 13 years of real term pay cuts for NHS staff, who can blame the many staff from our area who leave to go to better paid jobs in London which is just a train ride away for a far higher salary.”
A spokesperson for Mid and South Essex NHS Trust, said the trust is exploring several different recruitment proposals and the North East London NHS Trust model is “just one example of what has been looked at, but nothing as yet has been agreed or decided”.
In relation to recruitment, the spokesman added: “Over the past year we have employed almost 3,000 new starters. Large scale recruitment campaigns continue for newly qualified nurses, midwives and doctors.”