Safety fears as nurse numbers drop by 200 at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust

editorial image

The number of nursing and midwifery staff at the district’s hospitals has fallen by 200.

A nursing union has raised fears for patients safety ­after figures showed staffing levels had dropped at debt-hit Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust.

Annual reports show that on March 31, 2012, there were 2,544 registered nursing and midwifery staff at Mid Yorkshire, which runs Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury Hospitals.

That number had fallen to 2,413 a year later - and by the end of August this year reached 2,344, a reduction of 200, Mid Yorkshire confirmed.

The figures emerged after the Trust was slammed last month in a Care Quality Commission (CQC) report.

Inspectors who visited in May found low staffing levels on some elderly wards led to patients being injured from falls and suffering pressure ulcers and infections.

Trust bosses said they took immediate action to rectify the problems.

Glenn Turp, regional director of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN, said: “The only way safe and compassionate care can be delivered is if we have enough nursing staff on the ground.

“So it is difficult to see how high-quality patient care can be maintained with 200 fewer nurses and midwives.

“Unfortunately, this is borne out by the critical report published only in September by the CQC which highlighted staffing problems on two elderly care wards”.

Mid Yorkshire, which slashed £24m from its budget last year to balance the books, said it had recruited 200 nurses since May, and some had joined since the end of August.

Mr Turp added: “We hope this makes rapid progress, which we’ll be monitoring closely.”

Wakefield MP Mary Creagh said she would contact Stephen Eames, Mid Yorkshire’s chief executive, to make sure staffing levels on maternity wards were safe.

She said: “The Mid Yorkshire Trust simply cannot continue to take nursing cuts on this scale.”

Mid Yorkshire said measures were in place to protect patients safety as essential budget savings were made.

Graham Briggs, the Trust’s director of HR, said: “It is highly important to us that we have enough staff to provide the best possible patient care.

“Staffing levels are reviewed ward-by-ward on a daily basis and our campaign to recruit more frontline nursing staff is ongoing.

“The campaign has so far been very successful with new nursing staff joining the Trust every week.”