Publish date: 25 March 2022

Dear All,

Over the last few weeks we have all witnessed our services being placed under tremendous pressure.  We are still feeling the effects of the global pandemic, which has placed extra demand on us and our resources.  I am fully aware that staff have been working extra hard to ensure that our patients are looked after in the same caring way we strive for, and I am very grateful for that.

High Secure Services and Medium Secure Services are facing additional pressures, and have now entered Business Continuity, and these services are continually looking at how things can be done differently to reduce the activity and pressures the staff are experiencing.  Changes to service delivery will be communicated by managers and further correspondence.

Many people ask when will things improve for patients and staff; well the answer is that major change is already happening, such as the introduction of the flexible rostering system, in some services, to alleviate the pressure from staffing gaps.  Overtime payments are being reviewed, in particular during times of significant staffing deficits.  There are also new and ongoing recruitment initiatives, including:

  • Monthly recruitment continues for Mental Health nurses, Learning Disability nurses and Nursing Assistants.  There is a recruitment event planned for 28/04/2022 in Liverpool City Centre for Learning Disability nurses and Mental Health nurses, this will be advertised within local newspapers and advertising boards within the city.
  • As a Division we continue to attend external recruitment events targeting registered nurses and there was recent success at a RCNi event in Manchester, other virtual events are planned.
  • An advert for an additional 25 band 2 Healthcare Apprentices has been published, targeting those looking for first level entry in to a career within healthcare, but have no prior relevant qualifications or experiences.
  • The Division is in the process of reviewing the Nursing Assistant Job Description, and amending this to enable applicants to be eligible to apply for this post without prior care experience, but who have relevant life experience and transferable skills.  This should enable the Division to target a wider group of candidates who previously have been ineligible to apply for such posts.
  • The sponsorship programme has recommenced to enable staff who have worked in the Division for 15 months or more, and are currently in a none clinical role, to join the Nurse Bank as a Nursing Assistant following a supportive programme to give them the required skills and training needed.
  • The Division is being represented at Edge Hill University Learning Disability conference on 06/04/2022.  This is not an event that will enable individuals to interview on the day, however it will showcase the Division’s services and preceptorship programme.
  • There are 34 Staff Nurses who have been recruited in to the Division, 19 of these are due to qualify/start before September 2022.

Once again, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued professionalism and hard work during this period of unprecedented times.


Steve Newton

Chief Operating Officer

Secure & SpLD Division

Ashworth Hospital