Around 40 extra nurses are to be appointed at Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital. It follows a staffing review sparked by patient safety concerns and reports of nurses crying due to the pressure they were under.
The review, by the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA), was ordered after a major incident at the hospital’s A&E department in January, which at one point saw more than 40 patients waiting on trolleys.
An investigation is also under way into five deaths, where delays in treatment may have been a contributory factor.
Of the extra staff, 15 nurses will join the trust’s accident and emergency department and 25 will go to its acute medical unit. Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, which runs the hospital, has also appointed a senior nurse as a dedicated clinical co-ordinator for the AMU.
The new posts were announced last week in an update on the situation at the hospital by Northern Ireland health minister Edwin Poots.
“Nurses will be able to provide some services which would traditionally be undertaken by middle grade doctors”
In a written statement, Mr Poots also said the trust was looking at ways to improve the flow of patients out of A&E and to and from the AMU, and ensuring they were properly tracked throughout their hospital stay.
He said the trust had already made other changes, including training two emergency department nurses to become advanced nurse practitioners.
“This will mean they will be able to provide some services in the emergency department which would traditionally be undertaken by middle grade doctors,” he said.
A wider review of emergency care in Belfast and across the region is also under way. It is being led by RQIA director of reviews and medical director Dr David Stewart.
The review team will feature leading nursing experts including Kathy Fodey, director of regulation and nursing at RQIA, former emergency department nurse and independent nurse advisor Mary Monnington, and Dr Elizabeth Myers, nurse consultant in emergency medicine.