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Monday, 06 July 2015

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Staffing crisis at West Cumberland Hospital

STAFFING at the West Cumberland Hospital is a “serious concern’’ health bosses were told.

By Julie Morgan

Recruitment continues to be a “challenge’’ with nurse vacancies, shortfalls in consultants and the recent removal of three junior doctors.

Copeland MP, Jamie Reed, warned that the shortage of staff “remains a huge problem and is affecting patient care”.

At a meeting on Tuesday of the North Cumbria University Hospital Trust board , a report stated the nursing shortfalls combined with the number of locum medical staff “increase the risk” and present “daily challenges” for all clinical teams.

Members were told nursing gaps at the Whitehaven hospital were so serious they needed daily monitoring and “support at senior level”.

In January and February of this year, WCH wards of Overwater, Jenkin, ITU, CCU and Pillar/Patterdale fell below the target for qualified cover. Shortfalls are filled by interim agency nurses, board members were told.

Chris Platton, acting director of nursing and quality at the Trust, said: “We have a higher vacancy rate at WCH nurse staffing which is a serious concern and so daily monitoring and support at senior level is in pace to support the teams.”

Responding to the shortages the Trust said it was continuing to recruit, with 30 overseas nurses joining this August as well as a number of newly-qualified nurses in September.

Mrs Platton added: “Our staff are delivering safe care but it requires significant effort and commitment from our frontline staff, and support from matrons and managers.”

Mr Reed said the removal of three trainees from the WCH was due to a shortage of senior medical staff to support them. The resignation of three consultants meant “clinical supervision could no longer be fully delivered”. There is currently a 25 per cent vacancy rate in consultant posts (50 people) across the Trust.

Mr Reed, who is also a Labour’s health spokesman, warned that if the situation is not addressed immediately, it could affect the delivery of hospital services across the area. He said: “The staff in our hospitals are working incredibly hard to provide the best service to patients they possibly can. Short-staffing remains a huge problem and is affecting patient care.’’

Speaking after Tuesday’s announcement, the hospital trust’s medical director, Jeremy Rushmer, stressed that junior doctors are “absolutely vital” to consultants.

Support is being provided to the remaining three trainees, but the Health Education North East is keeping the situation “under close review’” and if suitable protection to the remaining trainees is not forthcoming they may also be removed. This will be looked at on a weekly basis.

In a report to Tuesday’s trust board meeting, Dr Chris Tiplady, interim director of medical education, said: “The training programme for three trainees could no longer be delivered and these trainees are to be removed at the end of March to complete their training elsewhere in the region.”

The Trust say they are about to launch a “proactive national recruitment campaign’”.

Have your say

Hello to apply for a job in the NHS you need to look at NHS jobs website.
Alternativly you could log on to a hodpital website and search for vacancies ..it will lead you to NHS jobs .

Posted by annon on 3 April 2014 at 01:01

I Have been wanting a job at the hospital for years and yet its hard to get jobs in hospitals.Im not a nurse but i have been a carer for a good few years and have a great Rapor with the people i care for, I have a NVQ Level 3 in Health and Social care.Can you tell me how to apply for these kind of jobs.

Posted by Emma Looms on 1 April 2014 at 15:33

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