Hospital care at risk from low staffing

Dewsbury and District Hospital.
Dewsbury and District Hospital.

A staffing crisis is leading to patients being harmed as hospitals struggle to recruit enough nurses.

A report has warned of “major to catastrophic” risks to patients from poor care at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust.

Increases in patients being injured from falls and developing pressures ulcers have been reported at Dewsbury, Pinderfields and Pontefract hospitals.

Latest figures show Mid Yorkshire has more than 220 nursing and midwifery vacancies and has recruited 89 nurses from India to try to plug the shortfall.

A report to the latest trust board meeting said: “Due to inadequate staffing levels patients may be at risk of harm, patient safety may be compromised and patients may experience poor care.

“Evidence highlights that there has been an increase in the number of serious incidents as a result of patients falling and sustaining harm within the organisation.”

Pressure ulcers were leading to patients longer stays in hospital than were expected.

Mid Yorkshire said it had invested £1.2m in nurse staffing over the past year.

A spokesman said: “Over the last 12 months we have recruited 274 more nurses and midwives to the trust to provide care and support our patients.

“However, because of the reduced number of nurse training places within universities, less qualified nurses are available to fill the demand from hospitals across the country. ”

Mid Yorkshire said it had increased training to prevent pressure ulcers and was providing extra monitoring of patients to reduce falls.

The spokesman added: “With all these initiatives, we regularly review our processes, learn lessons and make improvements.”