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Why Northamptonshire Offers the ‘Best of Both Worlds’ for Doctors and Nurses


The ‘Best of Both Worlds’ is a first of its kind recruitment campaign launched today by four leading NHS healthcare providers Northamptonshire in partnership with the University of Northampton to attract doctors and nurses to relocate to live and work in Northamptonshire. The campaign aims to put Northampton, Kettering and Northamptonshire firmly on the map as a top destination for new and experienced medical and nursing professionals to develop their careers.

This month the Royal College of Nursing’s Chief Executive and General Secretary, Janet Davies, stated there are 40,000 nursing vacancies in England.  The Health Service Journal has reported that 96% of hospitals in the UK have nursing shortages. While the shortage of doctors and nurses is a national issue, it is one Northamptonshire is determined to change.

Rather than competing for talent, ‘The Best of Both Worlds’ unites the University of Northampton, Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Northampton General Hospital, Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and St Andrew’s Healthcare, a leading charity providing specialist mental healthcare in a joint bid to address their recruitment needs. This joined-up, trail blazing approach is a model the organisations’ leaders hope will be replicated elsewhere in the NHS.

The campaign will dispel any misconceptions people may have that Northamptonshire is in the North, rather than the heart of England and that Kettering is in the UK, not in Ohio in the USA and located just one hour from London, Oxford and Birmingham. It will also showcase the diverse career opportunities and benefits of working and living in this beautiful county, such as the good schools, the great lifestyle, affordable housing, easy commuting and great transport links.

A ‘Best of Both World’s microsite is supporting the campaign, hosting career advertisements and information for doctors and nurses. Interviews and stories from doctors and nurses who have relocated and are enjoying living and working in Northamptonshire will also be featured.

The University of Northampton is a leading university for nursing training and a key part of the campaign will be to encourage student nurses to build their careers in Northamptonshire.

Dr Steve O’Brien, Dean of the Faculty of Health and Society, University of Northampton, said:

“We pride ourselves at the University of Northampton with providing first class nurses through our partner hospitals. We look forward to enhancing this and making sure Northamptonshire benefits from these professionals.”

While each hospital has vacancies for doctors and nurses, they all offer different specialist areas, their own unique cultures and training and development opportunities.

Northampton General Hospital provides acute care services for 380,000 people. It is an accredited cancer care centre and was the first NHS hospital to sign up to the accredited ’Pathway to Excellence’ programme for nurses – an internationally-recognised programme for nursing and midwifery standards.

Andrew Belcher, Clinical Resource Planning Manager at Northampton General Hospital said:

“Staff here work as one team, everyone believes they can make a difference. It is an inspirational workplace. Our focus is on the education, training and development of nurses and doctors, so the career opportunities are outstanding.”

Carolyn Fox, Director of Nursing, Midwifery and patient services and a Board Director at Northampton General Hospital said:

“The Pathway to Excellence mirrors what we’re working to achieve in Northampton; a culture where nurses and midwives feel inspired and valued to deliver the best possible care for patients. The programme opens exciting opportunities to learn from a global community of healthcare professionals, all sharing a common aim of delivering excellent standards of care. We’re also one of the first hospitals to introduce the DAISY award, which honours and celebrates the compassionate care that nurses and midwives provide in UK.”

There are also opportunities at Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which provides over 100 different services on over 50 sites – delivering many outside the hospital within the community.

Chris Oakes, Director of HR and OD at Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said:

“Through our many services, we offer better opportunities for doctors and nurses at Northamptonshire than London, as well as flexible working hours that can enhance people’s work/life balance. We’re focused on training and development and have a great culture that supports staff wellbeing.”

Amy Johnson, Ward Matron at Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust agrees,

“My role is hugely rewarding. I have never been refused time off for training. The Trust has a reputation and culture for staff development, which sets it apart. They promote wellbeing and there are lots of initiatives, including Pilates and yoga classes, which are really popular.”

St Andrew’s Healthcare is an award-winning, highly specialised, mental health charity providing care for people with complex needs. Its college for young patients is rated as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

David Anthony, Head of Recruitment at St Andrew’s Healthcare, said, “We’re looking for first class mental health and learning disability nurses, as well as general nurses to assist with our patients’ physical health care. Our aim is to develop nurses into future clinical and operational leaders.”

Kettering General Hospital is a community hospital located in the historical town of Kettering where Clark Gable and Charles Dickens once stayed. Its friendly atmosphere is a big draw for nurses and doctors.

Mark Smith, Director of HR, OD and Strategic Development said: “Everyone knows everyone at Kettering and doctors and nurses will be a ‘big fish in a small pond’. They can develop their career more quickly here than in other places. There is a friendliness and community feel that runs throughout the hospital.”

Ajay Verma has been working at Kettering General Hospital since 2011 – initially as a training registrar, and then he did a fellowship post until 2014. He has been a full-time consultant since 2015. He currently lives in Leicester, but plans to move his wife and family to Northamptonshire, within the next year.

Ajay said:

“There are strong links across departments at Kettering General Hospital that you wouldn’t get in a much larger hospital, and there’s a very friendly and supportive environment. The sky is the limit here and if you have ambition and drive, you can achieve whatever you want.”

He says medical professionals are attracted to Kettering because of its renowned endoscopy unit, which is disproportionate to the size of the hospital, performing over 11,000 procedures a year. There is also a bowel cancer screening programme that not all hospitals offer.

Summing up the benefits of relocating to Northamptonshire Carolyn Fox said:

“I relocated here from ‘up North’ and I thought people in the North had the monopoly on being friendly until I came to Northampton – they are the friendliest people I’ve ever met!

“Northamptonshire has some of most beautiful countryside in England, with pretty villages, parks and acres of woodland. Housing is affordable, there are great schools, plenty of culture and fantastic career opportunities for doctors and nurses and their partners, as many big businesses are located here. It really does offer the best of both worlds.”