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Hospital faces staffing crisis


13 May, 2008  

The problem of low staffing levels at some hospitals in the UK has once again raised its head with the news that one 30-bed ward was staffed by just one nurse over the Bank Holiday weekend.

The incident happened on the Thornton ward of Bridlington Hospital, East Yorkshire on May 3.

Bridlington Hospital is part of the Scarborough and North East Yorkshire Healthcare Trust which announced job cuts last summer involving 600 staff in a bid to deal with its mounting deficit.

But the proposals were shelved following negotiations with the Strategic Health Authority which agreed to pay off debts in return for a commitment to balance the books.

Iain McInnes, the chief executive of the Scarborough and North East Yorkshire NHS Trust, said that a nurse reported sick “at very short notice”, leaving the ward with just one nurse for the late shift.

“Thornton Ward normally operates with two qualified staff as a minimum. Immediate arrangements were made to cover the ward.

“However, following the additional cover being arranged, there was a period from 5pm to 8.15pm when the ward was covered by one of Thornton Ward’s own qualified nurses supported by additional qualified nurse cover from two other areas of the hospital.”

Greg Knight, the Tory MP for East Yorkshire, said he was outraged by the staffing problems as the trust had just announced it was funding 17 posts in its finance department.

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