Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Snap inspection triggered by staffing concerns at Staffordshire hospital

  • 7 Comments

Staff shortages at St George’s Hospital in Stafford have raised concerns that it is unable to provide care that adequately meets patients’ needs, a Care Quality Commission inspection has found.

The unannounced inspection of a number of acute wards at the site, run by South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare Foundation Trust, was triggered after the CQC received a whistleblowing letter from a member of hospital staff.

The letter raised concerns over staffing levels and the impact on staff and patient experience, alongside worries over visible leadership and support, a trust spokesman told Nursing Times’ sister title HSJ.

The FT was found to have breached a regulation to provide sufficient numbers of suitably qualified, competent, skilled and experienced staff to meet the needs of the people using the service.

“[We were told] there were often staff shortages which resulted in staff being unable to provide care that met patients’ needs adequately”

CQC inspectors

Staff on one ward told inspectors that morale was low, with staff feeling tired and stressed due to “staff shortages and working excessive hours”, according to the CQC inspection report, published last month.

The CQC report said: “Staff told us that there were often staff shortages which resulted in staff being unable to provide care that met patients’ needs adequately.

“Safer staffing daily reports on [the Chebsey Ward] were indicating level of risk on staffing levels. This was on the trust’s risk register and vacancies were being recruited to.”

The inspections focused on the Chebsey and Brocton wards, which are both 20 bed, mixed gender acute mental health wards.

Hospital staff told inspectors that it was difficult to facilitate nurse and nursing assistant led activities because there were not enough staff on duty.

“We have recently established a new internal ‘nurse bank’ service which is helping to improve flexibility and responsiveness to staffing needs”

Alison Bussey

In both wards inspectors also found that there were no readily available safety alarms in place to call for help.

Despite these concerns the facilities were found to be well equipped. Staff were kind and caring towards their patients, the report said.

The hospital was also praised for having an effective way of reporting incidents, near misses and never events.

A trust spokesman said: “The requirement to improve the safety alarm system for staff is being addressed by a general ward refurbishment programme.

“Staffing levels was also raised as a concern and the trust board recognises [the need] for more work in this area, particularly where there are issues posed by individual patients requiring more intensive care or high levels of observation.”

Trust chief operating officer Alison Bussey said: “We are actively recruiting to vacancies and have also recently established a new internal ‘nurse bank’ service which is helping to improve flexibility and responsiveness to staffing needs.”

  • 7 Comments

Readers' comments (7)

  • Its the same everywhere, I am a bank HCA and sometimes the levels of staff are poor because bank staff learn which hospitals are understaffed and refuse to work on these wards I sometimes have 4 alarms going off at once. The alarms are to warn us that a patient who has a history of falls is on the move but you can only be with one patient at a time so falls and injuries are going to happen and then the nursing staff are held responsible

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Well done Whistleblower(s)!

    Is anyone considering the Buurtzorg health care model ?

    If not, why not?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • What would have happened if a Nursing Home had carried out these atrocities I wonder ?
    Where was the BBC and "Safegaurding"
    in all the bad years.
    As Anonymous | 3-Sep-2015 8:00 pm
    says
    Well done Whistleblower(s)!
    I hope the powers that be have attoned.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Is there a link between the trust Health and Safety Officer and CEO jobs recently advertised at the same time on the NHS jobsite?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • If this had been the private sector there would be no jobs being advertised as the CQC and others would had had it closed down.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • 3:04hrs so it must have been bad then?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Under national staffing survey now in red for bullying, harassment and violence? I'm guessing the whistleblower(s) didn't fair right? The ceo gets paid £140,000 a year in a place based on lean care resulting in low staffing issues? Doesn't sound like a place with good leadership! Where we're the RCN as usual?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.