Beds, Herts & Bucks

Stoke Mandeville hospital 'must improve staffing'

Staffing levels on wards at Stoke Mandeville Hospital must be improved, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has said.

Nursing staff also need better support because pressure to meet patients' needs is affecting the care they are giving, a report by the CQC said.

Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust has until 30 June to make improvements.

Chief executive Anne Eden said she "recognised" changes were needed and was "taking action".

Compliance inspectors made an unannounced visit to the hospital for two days in February and March.

'Poor morale'

They visited a number of wards including St Andrews (part of the National Spinal Injury Centre), Accident and Emergency (A&E) and the Clinical Decision Unit (CDU).

The CQC said some nurses said they sometimes had to work for up to two hours after their shift had ended, and that some tasks were rushed because of a lack of staff.

Staff numbers on some wards fell short of planned levels and sometimes the skill mix was inadequate, as bank or agency staff were not allowed to carry out certain tasks.

It said nursing staff could be better supported through appraisal and training.

Ian Biggs, of the CQC, said: "Our inspectors found that staff morale was poor, and staff told us that there were just not enough hours in the day.

"The trust must ensure that there are always adequate and sufficiently skilled staff on duty - and make sure that these staff are adequately supported to meet people's needs."

'Committed to support'

He added CQC inspectors would return unannounced to check changes had been made.

The trust said it was reviewing staffing requirements, streamlining appraisal and mandatory training requirements and ensuring staff are allocated time to undertake e-learning.

Ms Eden said she "recognised that some improvements are still required" but the trust was committed to ensuring its staff have the right development and support.

"We are taking the feedback from inspectors very seriously and have instigated a number of additional actions to those already under way within the trust to ensure further improvements are quickly made," she said.

She added the trust was "confident" it would meet the deadline for compliance.

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