NORTH Devon District Hospital in Barnstaple has launched a £1.8 million recruitment drive to help increase the number of staff on its wards.
The scheme will see more than 30 registered nurses and 25 healthcare assistants brought into the hospital.
It follows an analysis of the mix of patients at the hospital, who are becoming increasingly older and have more complex health needs.
As a result, the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, which manages the hospital, is aiming to improve the number of members of staff per patient.
Following the recruitment drive there will be one registered nurse for every six patients, instead of the current ratio of one nurse to every eight patients.
Overnight care will also improve, with one nurse for every 10 patients.
Kevin Marsh, director of nursing, said: "Research and evidence shows there is a clear link between the ratio of qualified nurses on wards and the outcomes of patients.
"Staffing levels will remain high on our agenda – day in, day out – and will be developed in response to the needs of our patients.
"While we consistently benchmark well against other trusts in terms of staffing, we were keen to act now to increase the skill mix and help us live up to our aim of providing safe, high-quality care every time."
The additional investment has already been agreed by the board of the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust.
Senior nurses and ward sisters were central in developing the plans.
The plans, which will be implemented fully in the coming months, will include a reconfiguring of beds at the hospital.
The trust is also reviewing staffing levels on wards at its community hospitals.