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Mid Staffs A&E to close overnight

  • 30 Comments

The accident and emergency department at Stafford Hospital is to close overnight due to inadequate staffing levels.

Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust has been trying to achieve satisfactory staffing levels in the department since the Healthcare Commission’s report in 2009 exposed poor standards of care.

Although the department now has adequate nursing numbers there are still three consultant vacancies and eight vacancies for middle grade doctors.

In September the Care Quality Commission warned the level of medical cover was unacceptable and found many nurses did not have sufficient training. The regulator threatened to use its legal powers to close services unless the situation improved.

At a meeting last week the trust board agreed to close the department between 10pm until 8am from 1 December for an initial period of three months.

In a statement chief executive Lyn Hill-Tout said the period would be used to recruit doctors and train nursing staff.

She added: “We have a relatively new nursing team in the emergency department, which, because of the workload and low levels of senior doctor and nursing leadership, have been unable to develop their skills as we and they would like. The temporary closure will enable us to do this with protected time for training.”

  • 30 Comments

Readers' comments (30)

  • George Kuchanny

    Less money on tea and biscuits complaints deflection meetings held by eye wateringly high salary officials and more money spent on appropriately trained front line staff? Whatever next?

    Pass the smelling salts before I fade into shock induced unconsciousness please.

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  • :-) Such a shame…have got good memories of working in this A&E dept 25 years ago

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  • :-( I mean!

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  • michael stone

    Looks a bit odd in one sense - closing this department does not also stop accidents and emergencies: so what happens to those people, who will no longer be patients at that A & E dept ?

    It doesn't tell me, above, unless I've missed it.

    I would quite like to know, where those potential Mid Staffs patients now go, and what the overall impact of closing that A & E is predicted to be.

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  • Michael, what happens to those people who dare to have an emergency out of opening times is the same as those in other areas where A&E has been closed down or reduced to 'office hours'.

    They are simply expected to not have an emergency. Or get to the next nearest hospital (usually many miles away) that does have one, and pray that they survive on the way.

    The expected impact will be the same as in these areas to (there is one not far from me). Patient care will suffer, and the surrounding A&Es will struggle to cope with the increased demand.

    This is yet another example of the wonderful and intelligent thinking from the powers that be. I think I'm about to overload on sarcasm. They never bloody learn, do they?

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  • michael stone

    mike | 12-Nov-2011 12:06 pm

    Precisely !

    'They never bloody learn, do they?'

    Apparently, not very often !

    But the public, do quite like a hospital within a reasonable distance of where they themselves live: one reason this centralisation of expertise is seen SLIGHTLY differently by service designers and 'the public'. There are also costs in terms of time and money, involved with extra travelling, which fall on the public, not on the NHS, when this greater centralisation happens.



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  • Most people presenting at an ED in the U.K. could be treated through minor injuries unit or G.P. - % who need to be there during night time is very small - 5-10% at a guess, significant trauma even less. A risk assessment has been carried out that suggests it would be safer to stay away than book in at night time!!! Just wonder how this will relate to other EDs in the U.K. - having worked at a few I would imagine most are in a similar situation, understaffed and staff that work in them under trained. No national standards for the mandatory training of nursing staff in either critical care or emergency care in 2011 in all but the most basic requirements.

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  • She added: “We have a relatively new nursing team in the emergency department, which, because of the workload and low levels of senior doctor and nursing leadership, have been unable to develop their skills as we and they would like. The temporary closure will enable us to do this with protected time for training.”

    I.E. it never troubled us to develop or motivate our staff with some rudimentary input into their professional evolution that wasn't farmed out at exorbitant cost to the higher educational sector (separate budget) until a public inquiry pointed out the obvious. Never mind the clear benefits in terms of a safer department or decrease in complaints or heaven forbid lost time and money on sick leave or the churn of recruitment because people with a modicum of self respect and professional expectation can only work in such medieval conditions for a limited duration.

    Sound familiar to anyone?

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  • so does that mean they do training at night time? that is a good idea so that staff that work during the day can stay on ever longer and enjoy training sessions what !!!!!! but which training person wants to stay on till after midnight or did i miss the point completely? and wouldthey have to pay extra time as it is unsocil hours?????

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  • What would you all rather they did then? Keep it open with 11 doctor vacancies? I can just imagine what everyone would be posting if they continued to run the service relying solely on nurses with no medical support.

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