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Breaking news: Trust accused of chronic understaffing

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A mental health trust has been ignoring serious understaffing on its wards, with potentially dangerous consequences for staff and patients, claim nurses.

The accusations have sparked warnings that the trust is risking a visit from regulators, like one of its neighbours Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust.

A nurse, who did not want to be named, said the trust encouraged staff not to fill in forms reporting safety and ward staffing issues.

Wards at Kent and Medway NHS and Social Partnership Trust had a shortfall of nursing staff of around 40%, putting patient care and safety at risk, the nurse said.

‘I have been told not to fill in incident forms because it would upset managers,’ she told delegates at the RCN’s AGM in London.

‘They will be the next organisation to be investigated by the Healthcare Commission,’ warned Mike Travis, former council member for the North West.

A trust spokesperson denied the claims. But RCN general secretary Peter Carter said one of the college’s local officers would look into the case.

The Healthcare Commission said earlier this month that serious nurse shortages contributed to the breakdown in hygiene control and subsequent patient deaths at the nearby trust in Maidstone.

Read more in next week’s NT.

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