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Mid Staffs ignored shortage of nurses in rush to become FT

A report highlighting a major shortage of nurses at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust was withheld from the organisation’s board by its chief executive until it gained foundation status.

The skill mix review, commissioned by former director of nursing Helen Moss after she joined the trust in December 2006, found the organisation was 120 nursing posts short – equivalent to 13% of the workforce. It estimated it would cost £1m-£1.5m to fill the gap.

Giving evidence to the Mid Staffs public inquiry last week, Ms Moss said she was told there was “no hurry” to show the review to the board because the required investment could have undermined the trust’s foundation trust application.

Asked where she had got that impression, she said: “From discussions with the chief executive [Martin Yeates].”

The review was finally presented to the board at the end of March 2008. The trust had been awarded foundation trust status on 31 January.

In her statement to the public inquiry, Ms Moss said it was difficult to recruit experienced nurses to the trust because it was a small hospital with no specialist services and few opportunities for career development.

As a result, she said most of the nurses recruited were straight out of university and this, combined with a low staff turnover, meant a lack of new ideas coming into the organisation.

Ms Moss, who has now left the NHS, ended her evidence to the inquiry by apologising to “patients and families that received poor care in the trust”.

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Readers' comments (4)

  • So are Helen Moss or Martin Yeates going to face prosecution for their blatant disregard for patient care?

    Lets face it, if a staff Nurse showed so little disregard for a patient, we'd lose our pin and rightly so; but are the executives immune from such professional guidelines?

    The sooner a Nurse/patient ratio is made a legal requirement the better.

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  • Like most Chief Execs Martin Yeates seems immune to being held accountable for his actions. And it is depressing that a Director of Nurses should be such a pathetic "yes" person pleasing the chief Exec was more important than telling the truth. Unfortunately the one in our Trust is just the same.

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  • In my experience of new nurses, they arrive full of enthusiasm and up to date ideas, determined to make a difference.
    At CAUSE (Campaign Against Unnecessary Suspension and Exclusions UK) we have heard of new nurses whose enthusiasm made them unpopular on a dysfunctional ward or in a dysfunctional organisation. They had false allegations made against them and were suspended.
    I would love to know how many nurses were suspended, for how long and for what reason, during this time of mismanagement at Mid Staffs. But I expect someone has ‘lost’ the figures and the paperwork.
    Until managers are open to scrutiny and are accountable for their actions, nothing will change, many more patients will suffer and more Mid Staff- type places will come to light.
    Julie Fagan, founder member of CAUSE

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  • Absolutely agree Julie, I have certainly experienced that for myself on dysfunctional wards/workplaces. Keep up the good work.

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