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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