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Staff shortages in NHS continue to cause problems

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

Managers of West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven have warned that staff shortages are jeopardising the quality of care being provided to patients.  Earlier this year, numerous junior doctors were withdrawn from the wards due to a lack of senior supervision.  As a result, the gaps have been filled with locum support provided by neighbouring trusts to fill the rotas.

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust said that the problem of staff shortages is a national one, with trusts all over the country struggling to remain adequately staffed.  However, they stressed that the shortage is being felt “very strongly” in rural Cumbria.  The trust has struggled most to recruit specialist acute medicine and emergency admission doctors, which is greatly affecting their ability to practice sufficiently.

Acute medical care is “increasingly fragile”

Medical Director of the trust, Dr Jeremy Rushmer, said that even though recruitment drives are in place to help improve the system, the acute medical care at West Cumberland Hospital continues to become “increasingly fragile”.  He said that the trust would continue to work in conjunction with partners “on a longer-term plan to ensure safe and sustainable services for the generations ahead.”

The Care Quality Commission kept the trust under ‘special measures’ in July following concerns over mortality rates and care standards.

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