A HOSPICE is desperately seeking nurses to fill vacant posts.

Havens Hospices, which incorporates Fair Havens in Westcliff, Little Havens Hospice in Thundersley and J’s Hospice in Chelmsford, has 14 nurse vacancies.

The situation reflects a national shortage across the NHS and was highlighted in the hospice’s annual report last year as a risk, with no signs the situation has improved.

The problem is compounded by Havens’ need for specially-trained palliative care nurses to provide end-of-life care to both adults and children across mid and south Essex.

A spokeswoman for Havens Hospices said: “The recruitment of nurses across the healthcare sector is a recognised issue.

“To find palliative care nurses – especially within children’s palliative care – adds an additional pressure to hospices because the type of care they give to patients with life-limiting illnesses nearing the end of their life is so specialist.

“There are also myths around hospice care which may concern some nurses thinking about working in this environment.

“As a nurse at Havens Hospices, you are given time to care for each patient in the way they choose to be cared for, empowering and treating them as an individual.”

Nurses working for Havens have the same pay scales as regular NHS nurses.

The spokeswoman added: “Havens Hospices uses the NHS pay scales – called Agenda for Change – as a guideline and offers salaries within the relevant nursing bandings.

“We also allow care staff to transfer over their pension if they join us from the NHS.”

The charity also relies on an army of 1,078 volunteers working in Havens Hospices shops or as trustees.

The charity estimates last year volunteers gave some 207,000 hours of time, contributing an economic saving to the charity of around £82.7million.

Havens Hospices employs 39 qualified nurses across all its care services – Fair Havens In Patient Unit, Fair Havens Community Hospice Service, Little Havens Hospice and The J’s Hospice. This includes ‘management’ such as Ward Sisters and the Director of Care.

There are currently 17 vacancies but about half of these are because the charity is changing the way it employs nurses by not relying on bank/agency nurses.