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Sherwood Forest Hospitals Foundation Trust

Inspectors slam hospital trust for 'abysmal' staffing levels


A warning notice has been issued to Sherwood Forest Hospitals Foundation Trust after a highly critical inspection report found “abysmal” staffing levels.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission found there were not enough nurses or doctors on the wards and described a string of failures at the trust which is already in significant breach of its license with Monitor.

The trust is already in “special measures” after being one of 14 hospitals criticised in a review by NHS England medical director Sir Bruce Keogh following concerns over high mortality rates.

During inspections in June and July the CQC visited the trust’s accident and emergency department and 16 other wards. Inspectors also spoke to 75 patients and 100 staff.

Inspectors were told by patients that staffing levels were “abysmal” and one relative said: “My wife rang me in tears because she could not get any one to help her, they are so busy.”

Nurses told the CQC staffing levels were “horrendous”, with one saying: “We cannot go on, it’s terrible, nurses are crying because it’s so bad on here.”

Another added: “It feels like we’re being told there’s ‘no agency, no bank [staff available] – get on with it.’”

An analysis by the CQC found the trust had a ratio of nurses to healthcare assistants of 50:50 on most wards. The older people’s wards had one nurse for eight patients during the day and one nurse for 12 patients during the night.

The Royal College of Nursing has previously recommended a minimum registered nurse to patient ratio of 1:5 for older people’s wards and a skill mix of 65:35.

Junior doctors told inspectors working on the medical ward at the weekend was “one of the worse jobs” because of a lack of staff and mistakes had been made with prescriptions due to high workload.

The CQC identified problems with the way outlying patients on wards away from the specialty providing their care were reviewed. One nurse saying part of their role was “having to be a good detective” to identify responsible consultants.

Inspectors also found patients not being helped to eat or drink with poor charts and incorrect or absent risk assessments.

The trust also had a backlog of complaints, x-rays and scans.

Trust chief executive Paul O’Connor said: “We are confident that measures have been put in place to address all findings from these reports and recognise the need to give additional attention to bring further improvements for our patients.”

GMB regional officer Harry Harrison said his union hadraised “serious concerns” over inadequate staffing levels and the standards of patient care for a number of years.

“The the trust have been ‘gambling’ with the ratios of qualified nurses to the number of patients they care for as it was a board game.

“GMB members have time and time again raised serious concerns with nurse managers and service directors alike only to be patronised and seen as troublemakers,” he claimed.

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Readers' comments (25)

  • Of course there's abysmal staffing levels on the front line. All the cash resource is going into endless tiers of bureaucrats and empire-builders! And that's not just SFHFT - that's right across the NHS!

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  • This is the nub of the problem and needs addressing properly.

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  • So all the Trust gets is a rap on the knuckles?? ?
    My belief is that they should be at least heavily fined . I would say shut down but that would affect so many patients that relay on this hospital for SAFE and COMPETANT CARE!!!
    The management have put patients lives at risk all for the sake of saving the dollar. It is an absolute disgrace.
    Nurses need to unite...that's all. And again your union needs to bloody work for the money you are paying them.
    Already had concerns re High Mortality Rates?? Just scary!!!

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  • What a shame Sherwood Hospitals is being
    Scapegoated when in fact this is common throughout the NHS, no-one can accept poor standards and behaviours but honestly when are the powers that be going to recognise that we have crisis on our hands throughout the NHS not just in a few hospitals. Patients are older, frailer, expect more, treatment races ahead, relatives give staff a hard time even when it is clear they can only do what they do and rightly expect there family to be nos one, trouble is everybody thinks that. Stop chasing targets paying for non nurse managers at ridiculous salaries and sort the serious issue of recruitment which is only going to get worse as degree only will stop a large contingent and to be honest if you read the papers and saw all the Stuff written day in day out would you become a nurse? I know I would not. Jobs on the wards become harder by insistence of things such as keeping the charts locked away from the bedside just in case someone may read them... What is that all about, the debacle about this is ridiculous in my trust, this is is supposed to be about privacy and dignity! Confidentiality! I do not have the answers all in one pot but we could make a start about asking what we do well.

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  • Shame on Sherwood Forrest,
    And shame on the rest of hospital trusts who think staffing in 1/8 patients
    And disgrace on the trusts who are working 1/15 patients

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  • michael stone

    This message has got to be trumpeted where it is true ! TELL THE PUBLIC !!!

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  • The staffing levels described in this article are actually better than where I work: CQC please come to my hospital!

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  • Anonymous | 26-Sep-2013 4:15 pm

    If it is so bad, why don't you make a complaint and spark an inspection?!

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  • CQC please don't just inspect and advise.
    Demand that there be change. Please do this job well, otherwise some political fool will decide to get another high profile so called independant person pay them tons of money to do the job that you are suppose to doing.
    INSPECT, ADVISE, WARN, DEMAND and Fire / Fine Incomptent Managers.

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  • How will fining this trust help put enough staff on the wards?

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