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Hunt quizzed on NHS staffing numbers

  • 27 Comments

It is “totally unacceptable” for hospitals to have unsafe staffing levels, health secretary Jeremy Hunt insisted today as Labour declared it was the secretary of state’s job to ensure that every NHS hospital operates with safe staffing numbers.

Shadow health minister Andrew Gwynne said the Care Quality Commission (CQC) had identified 17 NHS hospitals that were operating with unsafe levels of staffing “putting vulnerable patients and especially older people at risk”.

The CQC issued the hospitals with warnings in November after carrying out inspections.

Speaking during Commons health questions, Mr Gwynne said: “Frankly it’s the secretary of state’s job to ensure that every NHS hospital operates with safe staffing levels.

“So does he now think it was a mistake to strip out almost 7,000 nursing posts from our NHS?”

Mr Hunt replied the government had protected the NHS budget, while “his front bench wants to cut the NHS budget in real terms”.

Mr Hunt added: “I think he’s got to think very carefully before he starts talking about all these so-called cuts, when his own shadow health spokesman wants to cut the NHS budget in real terms. That’s what he said last December.

“With respect to what the Care Quality Commission said, I agree with them. It is totally unacceptable for hospitals to have unsafe staffing levels.

“But if you also listen to what he said, he said that budgets and financial issues are no excuse because those budget pressures exist throughout the NHS and many hospitals are able to deliver excellent care despite them.”

  • 27 Comments

Readers' comments (27)

  • close hospital make nurse redundent that why staff are offer strechted.

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  • michael stone

    'budgets and financial issues are no excuse'

    That is what Hunt wants to 'push' - he wants to claim that low staff numbers can ALWAYS be overcome by 'training, attitude and organisation': as I've said elsewhere, that is an assertion which needs to be tested.

    The NHS is large, complex and very varied - it is very easy to find an orange somewhere, to compare with an apple - it is crucial in that type of argument, to compare true 'like with like': goverments are not known for being very strict in their comparisons !

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  • "Mr Hunt replied the government had protected the NHS budget"

    Excuse me ???????????

    How can he talk such rubbish when the NHS is being forced to make billions of pounds worth of savings.

    Where does he think the money is coming from, if not from the NHS budget.

    GIVE WITH ONE HAND, THEN TAKE AWAY WITH TWO.

    Am I missing something, OR is this just political clap-trap as usual ?????

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  • Tinkerbell

    and the punch and judy show continues with nothing being done about the problem.

    Yada, yada, yada. So called adults.

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  • the tory party want the nhs privatised...simple fact

    can mr hunt tell me and my fellow workers here in rotherham how we are going to provide an adquate service for our patients when 750 of us are about to lose our jobs

    will he step in and stop this...well what do you think!!

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  • Tinkerbell

    Anonymous | 16-Jan-2013 12:35 pm

    not unless you see some pigs flying. The cull will continue.

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  • seems that many have the completely the wrong end of the stick about the NHS reforms, privatisation and its implications for patients.

    The comments about it sound more like those circulating on bush telegraph from one mouth or computer to another than from those who have actually read the reforms documentation and have a clear understanding of it and its aims.

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  • George Barnes

    Sorry to be the one who points out the bleeding obvious elephant in the room but is no one else prepared to bring this up to the Nursing Times editorial staff?

    “17 NHS hospitals are among 26 healthcare providers in England failing to operate with safe staffing levels, the Care Quality Commission has said.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-21002205

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-21002621

    Hmmm.... why has the NT done a news item about this yet?

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  • Staffing levels in the community do not compare favourably with the amount of complex patients we are seeing. Dont forget the emphasis is to keep patients out of hospital.(quite rightly) Diabetic nurses have faded away, Copd nurses are almost non existant in my area. Matrons continue to require our imput, but we are not even replacing the staff who are leaving let alone employing more to cover the extra work. We are becoming more stressed and there is more sickness inevitably but do they listen.? They listen when a mistake is made only to blame the nurse. Enough said.

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  • Anonymous | 16-Jan-2013 1:09 pm

    I think we understand it, but in case not, can you please explain it, and let us know how you are involved.

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