Sandwell Hospital and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust is bringing back old-fashioned bedside matrons in an effort to improve patient care.
The ward matrons will be split between the 30 adult inpatient wards at City Hospital in Winson Green, and Sandwell Hospital, West Bromwich, from July 1. They will have a salary of £40,000.
Rachel Overfield, chief nurse, who campaigned for their re-introduction, said: “It felt like we needed to get our very best nurses back to the wards.
“Matrons will have a more noticeable presence now at the bedside and there will be a much more consistent standard of care.
"They will also have interaction with patients and be able to resolve any issues or problems much quicker.”
The ward matron will be a hybrid of the existing ward manager role and the current matron. Many of the posts will be filled by promoting staff.
Previously, matrons had been working across several wards. Ward managers were mostly on site during the day and only devoted a fraction of their time to managerial duties.
Rachel explained: “The matrons we have now are distant from the wards and supervise several rather than focusing on one.
“They are not at the bedside and are supervising through ward sisters and staff nurses.”
She added: “Care was better when the matrons were on the wards. Most nurses come into this job to look after patients and having a hands-on role.
“But to advance their careers they are taken away from the bedside. Generally over the years, the jobs have changed to be more paperwork-based and wards have suffered as a consequence. These new matrons will have much more impact.”
If the new jobs prove a hit, the Trust will look to expand the programme.
The announcement follows an announcement 378 full-time posts are to be shed by the Trust this year. No-one will be made redundant although healthcare staff who leave will not be replaced.
Rachel added: “There will be some nursing posts going from here, and it is important that we bolster the staff now.”
The matron plan will cost the trust an extra £676,305 a year.
It is believed this will be clawed back through patients staying in hospitals for shorter periods and a reduction in pressure sores, falls and infections associated with stronger nurse leadership.