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Harrogate and District Foundation Trust

Harrogate highlights maternity support staffing problem in December

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Vacancies and sickness meant that only about half of planned support worker hours were filled in the delivery room at Harrogate and District Hospitals Foundation Trust in December.

Figures presented at a Council of Governors meeting on February 4 show that the average fill rate of care staff was 40% during the day and 59% at night.

However, the delivery suite did have a full complement of midwives and nurses during the month, according to board papers from the meeting.

The special care baby unit was slightly short staffed at a 98% fill rate of nurses/midwives during both daytime and night time, and daytime levels for support workers was only 83%.

In the board papers, trust chief nurse Jill Foster said: “For the special care baby unit, although the nurse and care staff hours were less than planned, it is important to note that the bed occupancy levels fluctuate in this area and a professional assessment was undertaken on a shift by shift basis to ensure that the planned staffing matched the needs of both babies and families.”

In a supplementary statement provided to Nursing Times, Ms Foster added: “The planned staffing levels on the delivery suite reflect the importance that the trust places on ensuring that the number of midwives on the unit is sufficient to provide high quality care for unpredictable activity levels.

“The trust is therefore confident that the overall levels of staff on the maternity unit were sufficient to offer a safe, high quality service,” she said.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Unfortunately, this is normal. So why is it in the news?

    The comment from the chief nurse about daily fluctuations and assessments is all too common an excuse, and does not answer the underlying question of why the place is not fully staffed

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