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Saturday, 04 July 2015

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Barrow hospital’s winter strategy faces recruitment struggle

HOSPITAL bosses in Barrow are under significant pressure to make sure they prepare for winter, after admitting they will struggle to find staff to cope with the seasonal demand on services.

staff investment Sue Smith, chief executive nurse of the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust which runs Furness General Hospital JON GRANGER REF: 50057368B001

The organisation which runs Furness General Hospital will next month consider options for its annual winter planning, which normally sees additional beds opened in order to deal with the increasing number of illness plus slips and falls due to the colder weather.

But in order for new beds to be opened, there must be enough staff to care for the additional patients.

And while the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust has been more successful in recent recruitment drives, new employees have been filling historic problem vacancies and filling in gaps left by long-term staff sickness.

It was due to these issues that, last year, the trust was unable to fully roll out its winter plans.

At a board meeting this week, trust interim chairman John Hutton asked if the organisation would be implementing the schemes properly this year.

Chief executive nurse, Sue Smith said: “There is a risk around that, because we do need to improve our nursing levels and it would be irresponsible not to acknowledge that.

“The board has signed up to actively recruiting but we do need to invest in staffing and there’s going to be a clash with the need to recruit for winter beds.

“We’ll be taking a risk-based approach so we’re staffing the most appropriate and needy departments and areas first and we’ll be working closely with our commissioners and local authority on freeing up bed capacity by discharging those patients who are in our beds but are medically fit to leave.

“We cannot sit here and tell you there is no risk.”

Trust chief operating officer Juliet Walters told fellow directors the winter plans would be brought before the board next month.

For Plan A to be viable, she said, 76 additional staff would be need.

She added: “That is significant.”

When deciding on and approving its winter plans, the trust must stick to its own minimal staffing rules, introduced in December.

These include that one registered nurse should not be responsible for delivering care to more than eight patients.

While the trust’s overall staffing levels have increased significantly over the past six months, there remains a gap in some areas that require additional financial investment.

Have your say

They cannot be that interested in recruiting nurses as I sent an email in regards to a position vacant with my cv attached and nevet got a response to my query. Very poor form

Posted by jo on 30 August 2014 at 22:47

Stop spending money advertising for Directors and Managers - just look at their daily job vacancies for band 7/8 staff and above - and there will be money for the essential staff at the bottom. No point having hundreds of managers but no-one who can actually treat patients.

Posted by Top Heavy Bottom Light on 29 August 2014 at 22:01

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