Safety hit by staffing crisis

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a shortstaffed health trust has been told to improve by the care regulator.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) found that staffing shortages and overcrowding were a risk to safety at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust.

The trust, which runs Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury hospitals, has struggled to staff its wards during a national recruitment crisis. CQC inspectors rated the trust as “requires improvement” after visiting over six days in May and June.

The CQC report said: “Within medical care wards, there was a reported and identified correlation between deficient nurse staffing and patients suffering harm.”

Conditions were cramped on wards where extra beds had to be opened to cope with the number of patients needing care.

Patients were stuck in hospital because of delayed assessments for social care and a lack of community beds.

But improvements had been made since the last CQC report in 2015. Areas of outstanding practice included improvements in A&E, help for children with burns and facilities on the spinal unit at Pinderfields.

Mid Yorkshire was scored “good” for surgery, children’s services and end-of-life care. A “requires improvement” rating was given for A&E, critical care, maternity and outpatients. The trust was “inadequate” for medical care, including the care of old people. The CQC praised work to make the trust a better place for its staff. The report said: “Overall, the culture within the trust had improved since the last inspection and there were indications of a positive cultural shift.”

Mid Yorkshire chief executive Martin Barkley said: “We have significantly improved our community services and the care we provide at our Wakefield Intermediate Care Unit in the last year and have continued this improvement since the inspectors visited us in May this year.

“The tangible improvements recognised by the CQC are the result of our thousands of dedicated and hardworking staff who have together driven improvements for patients in their wards, clinics, theatres, laboratories, workshops and offices over the last two years.”