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Nurses at Lancashire A&E department put the trust ‘on notice’

“Staff often end up on 17-hour shifts”

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Nurses working at Lancashire Teaching Hospital’s Chorley and South Ribble Hospital have put the trust on notice.

Staff working in the Accident and Emergency Department at the Chorley and South Ribble Hospital have written to bosses calling for the trust to address serval issues in service provision.

The emergency department at the Chorley and South Ribble Hospital was temporarily closed due to “staffing issues” in 2016 but reopened nine months later on a part-time basis – it now operates between 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.

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However, staff working in the department claim that there are still failings within the service provision.

Staff claim to be working 17-hour shifts just to ensure patients are seen, treated and admitted and claim to have raised concerns about the safety of staff and patients multiple times with no action from the trust.

In a letter written to senior managers, they write; “some site managers have used unfair coercive tactics to get us to stay. We have been threatened with disciplinary action, breaching NMC code of conducts and dereliction of duty.

“As caring professional, we have persevered with this inadequate situation for the last year but have now reached a point where we are unable to continue with this uncertainty for we fear burnout”. 

Staff have given  Lancashire Teaching Hospital thirty days to ensure adequate service provision is in place before “goodwill” is withdrawn.

Karen Partington, Chief Executive of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said, “Last week some Chorley emergency department staff informed the senior team that at times they have been unable to leave work at the end of their shift, because some patients were still present and required care. 

“We agree that this isn’t acceptable, and apologise for the disruption this has caused them and their families.  We have recently met with staff and the union to hear their views, and have agreed a number of actions to make sure they are able to leave work on time. 

“We regret that on occasion some patients have remained in the emergency department for longer than they should.  This is a direct consequence of our wards being exceptionally busy which causes delays admitting patients from the emergency department – extending the opening hours at Chorley would not resolve this problem.

“Our emergency department staff at both Chorley and Preston, together with the wider health and care workforce are working hard to provide effective treatment during this very busy period, and we thank them all for their continued dedication and compassion.”

Workforce

Nursing vacancies hit record high leaving patient care at risk

It can be “dangerous” when there aren’t enough nurses to provide care.

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Patient Falls Risk with IV

There are now a record 43,671 empty nursing posts in the NHS in England alone.

NHS figures show that there are now a record 43,671 empty nursing posts in the NHS in England alone, according to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

The College says a global shortage of nurses alongside the removal of the nursing bursary has compounded this figure which now sees 12% of posts through the NHS in England without a full-time Registered Nurse.

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Figures from the University and College Admissions Service (UCAS) show a 29% overall decline in applications to undergraduate courses since 2015, when the bursary was cut by the Government.

In a report released today titled ‘Standing up for patient and public safety’, the Royal College of Nursing outlines the evidence of the need for a new law that allocates specific legal responsibilities for workforce planning and supply.

A new law is needed.

The report states that in order to address the record number of vacancies, and the gap between the numbers of health and care staff needed to deliver patient care vs. how many are in the system.

Figures included in the report reveal that the number of nursing staff has consistently failed to keep up with the dramatic rise in demand for services and the number of emergency admissions.

The report finally makes a further call for legal clarity on the roles, responsibilities, as well as accountabilities, for workforce planning and supply.

In September, after pressure from RCN members, NHS England and NHS Improvement asked the Government for clarity over who is accountable for the nursing workforce.

‘Nurses are working harder than ever’.

Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing said: “Nurses are working harder than ever to deliver safe patient care but are being held back by a system that is legally lacking teeth. Despite the public, patients and nurses all agreeing that clarity is needed on responsibilities for delivering enough nurses, we have yet to see any government pledge anything of the like, and as a result are staring down the barrel at a record 43k empty nursing posts.

“We know how dangerous it can be when there aren’t enough nurses to provide care, but at present, almost all accountability rests with the frontline nurse working on the understaffed ward, rather than those responsible for the system they work in.

“We believe the time has come for change and that patient care was future-proofed by law, and that from the government down, decision makers are held to account.

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Workforce

NHS calls for clarity on who is accountable for the nursing workforce

Figures suggest there are around 40,000 unfilled nursing vacancies throughout the NHS in England.

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Working nurses in the CCU

Healthcare leaders are calling for legislation to be included in the forthcoming Queen’s Speech.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have called on the Government to clarify who is accountable for the nursing workforce and the chronic problems it’s currently facing.

Following ongoing pressure from nursing unions, the two organisations met today and recommend that the government should “revisit with partners whether national responsibilities and duties in relation to workforce functions are sufficiently clear.”

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With around 40,000 unfilled nursing vacancies in the NHS in England and thousands more throughout social care, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) believes the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care should be legally accountable for the workforce.

Along with other health care leaders, Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive & General Secretary of the RCN, written to the Government calling for the legislation proposed by NHS England and NHS Improvement to be included in the forthcoming Queen’s Speech.

Staff shortages have reached ‘alarming levels’.

Responding to the news, Dame Donna Kinnair said: “We are pleased that NHS England and NHS Improvement has recognised the concerns of RCN members and the public and has stated that the issue of accountability for workforce planning and supply remains an area that needs be resolved.”

“In the week after we have launched a major public facing campaign calling for investment in the nursing workforce as well as for accountability to be clarified in the law, yet again, the case is made for this to be taken seriously.

“We are clear that government is well placed to determine how accountability can be clarified in law.

Adding; “Staff shortages have reached alarming levels with at least 40,000 vacant registered nurse posts in the NHS in England alone with thousands more vacancies in public health and social care.

“We now hope government will listen to this message, as well as the voices of the thousands of members that responded to the NHS England engagement process, and bring forward this legislation, taking the opportunity to include accountability in government and throughout the health and care system, for workforce planning and supply.”

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