MORE than 100 new mental health nurses have been signed up after a recruitment campaign was started six months ago.

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental health services and learning disability services is well on track to meet its target of employing 150 new nurses by May 2018.

Sussex Partnership launched its recruitment campaign in May after figures revealed it was spending more than £6 million a year on agency staff.

Diane Hull, chief nurse at Sussex Partnership, said: “It’s no secret that there’s a staffing crisis in the NHS when it comes to  recruiting nurses –  particularly mental health nurses – so we are absolutely delighted to be able to welcome 106 new recruits to our existing team of dedicated, compassionate and caring nurses.”

The new nurses include those who have just finished their training as well as mental health nurses who had left the profession but now want to return, as well as some who have chosen to relocate to the area from elsewhere in the UK.

It is hoped that recruiting new nurses means the organisation can reduce its agency spend and redirect that money to frontline patient care.

As part of the recruitment drive, the trust has overhauled its offer to new nurses.

An extra £2,000 is available for some levels of qualified nurses in certain areas particularly difficult to recruit areas/services.

New nurses relocating to the area will get their first three months’ rent paid.

There are also incentives for mental health nurses who have left the profession but now want to return – including free training and a £500 bonus upon revalidation.

As part of its recruitment drive, the trust launched a new film in October that was made by a former patient.

The film, called Nursing at Sussex Partnership, features the stories of nurses who work in a variety of roles across Sussex, from caring for people admitted to hospital to looking after people in the community and in secure settings.

It was directed and produced by John Richardson, from Eastbourne, a former service user who now runs his own filmmaking company called This Is Mind Wick

Launched in more than 70 UK cities at the same time thanks to the power of social media, the film has gone on to be the most viewed video ever made by the trust.