CQC warns of dangerously under-staffed NHS providers

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Chronic-Fatigue-Patients-are-Neglected The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has warned 26 NHS provider organisations that they are not employing and training enough staff to operate safely.

A total of 17 NHS hospitals, eight mental health trusts and one ambulance trust have been recorded as non-compliant with staffing level regulations following CQC inspections up to 9 January 2013.

This represents an improvement on the figure up to March 2012, when 40 NHS providers were recorded as dangerously under-staffed.

The warnings – made public following a request from Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham – related to lack of staff training as well as numbers of staff.

The following providers have been warned by CQC about the dangers posed by their under-staffing:

• Hospitals – Scarborough Hospital; Milton Keynes Hospital; Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro; Walton Centre, Liverpool; Queen’s Hospital, Romford; Stamford and Rutland Hospital, Stamford; Southampton General Hospital; Croydon University Hospital; Bodmin Hospital; Northampton General Hospital; St Peter’s Hospital, Maldon; Queen Mary’s Hospital, London; Chase Farm Hospital, London; Westmorland General Hospital, Cumbria; Pilgrim Hospital, Lincolnshire; St Anne’s House, East Sussex; Princess Royal Hospital, West Sussex.

• Mental health trusts – Ainslie and Highams Inpatient Facility, London; Campbell Centre, Bedford; Forston Clinic, Dorset; Cavell Centre, Peterborough; Bradgate Mental Health Unit, Leicestershire; Avon and Wiltshire NHS Mental Health Trust; Blackberry Hill Hospital, Bristol; Park House, Manchester.

• Ambulance trust – London Ambulance Service.

The list reflects the extent to which the ‘lean’ corporate paradigm has penetrated NHS organisations.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt commented: “There can be no excuse for not providing appropriate staff levels when across the NHS generally there are now more clinical staff working than there were in May 2010 – including nearly 5000 more doctors and almost 900 extra midwives.”

However, Burnham drew attention to the lack of hospital nurses: “Nurses will not be able to provide the standards of care we all want to see when they are so overstretched and the wards so short-staffed.”

Some hospitals have challenged the inspection reports. The Bradgate Mental Health Unit’s Chief Executive, John Short, said: “The temporary absence of non-nursing therapeutic staff when the CQC conducted its inspection did not and does not relate to patient safety.”

In addition, the Royal Cornwall Hospital and the Bodmin Hospital both noted that more recent CQC inspections had found their staffing levels acceptable.