Wards struggling to provide adequate care due to staff shortages

editorial image

Nurses on short staffed hospital wards have been struggling to provide adequate patient care, figures suggest.

Staff at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust reported dozens of occasions when they were unable to provide one-to-one care in a single month.

It happened almost 200 times in January at the trust, which runs Pontefract, Pinderfields and Dewsbury hospitals, according to the organisation’s latest staffing report.

The incidents were among “red flag” safety events hospital staff are required to record.

The report said: “A red flag is an event that leads to a patient missing care or sustaining harm (i.e. falls) and may indicate staff are unable to deliver the required care to patients.”

In January there were more than 280 nursing vacancies at the organisation, the report said.

That was equivalent to 115 full-time nurses, 96 healthcare assistants and 33 safety support workers. The shortages meant 23 wards at the trust reported being staffed at below 80 per cent of the planned level during day shifts that month.

Staff also recorded around 40 “falls with harm” on wards and hospital units in January.

The trust said 57 new nurses were due to start in September

Director of nursing David Melia said: “Whilst we have seen an improved situation for attracting registered nurses to the trust over the last year, we are experiencing the same challenge as other organisations with a national shortage of available staff. This is being compounded by a dramatic decrease in the number of EU nurses applying for posts.”