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Student nurses withdrawn from Norfolk hospital amid quality concerns

Student nurses have been withdrawn from a troubled foundation trust in Norfolk to allow it to concentrate on “clinical audit activity”, Nursing Times has learnt.

The University of East Anglia moved between 12 and 15 pre-registration students from James Paget University Hospitals Foundation Trust to alternative placements at the start of last week.

James Paget director of nursing Carole Crocker said: “Those students are full time in practice and have to spend at least 40% of their time with their mentor, which is a substantial commitment.

“This temporary step has enabled us to continue our work around additional clinical audits in key areas. There is no agreed timescale for their return, but it is likely to be in the New Year.”

She said the trust was continuing to provide placements to midwifery and allied health profession students, some of which were from UEA and some from University College Suffolk.

On Friday the foundation trust regulator Monitor warned the trust it was in significant breach of its terms as an FT, because of its failure to address concerns raised in September by the Care Quality Commission about poor nutrition standards across some of its wards.

It has been ordered to report regularly to Monitor on the delivery of performance improvements and commission an external review of its governance systems.

The trust’s former chair John Hemming resigned earlier this month. Since then an interim chair has been in post and Monitor said it would support the trust’s governors in appointing a permanent replacement.

Speaking on the warning issued to James Paget, Monitor chief operating officer Stephen Hay said: “We need be sure that the trust has the right systems in place so that problems are identified and fixed quickly and patients in the Norfolk and Suffolk area receive quality care. That’s why we’ve taken swift action to ensure that the trust board is addressing these issues urgently.

“We will be keeping a close eye on the trust and will review its progress against specific actions. We have made it clear that if the trust fails to deliver timely and sustainable progress to address the issues, we will look again at whether to take further regulatory action,” he said.

Mr Hay added: “Throughout this process we have been working closely with the CQC. It is imperative that trusts address the concerns of the CQC quickly and effectively and we believe that their ability to do this is a reflection of the strength or weakness of their governance processes.” 

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