Royal College of Nurses claims managers have ‘let staff down’

THE ROYAL College of Nurses is holding hospital managers responsible for poor standards of care revealed in a recent damning report.

Hospital bosses have let staff down with inadequate training, education and staff shortages, according to the RCN. The representative body said individual nurses at Eastbourne DGH are not to blame.

Hospital chief executive Darren Grayson apologised last week for lapses in care, but added the scathing report was just a snapshot of hospital services.

A spokesperson for the RCN said, “It is our feeling that these failings are down to organisational and management structures rather than individual failings.

“Neither we, nor the nursing staff, will ever condone poor practice but at the moment it appears that the appropriate support systems for staff are not in place and nurses and other staff are doing the best that they can and are naturally upset by outcomes of this report.”

The Care Quality Commission found the entire DGH was affected by staff shortages and the knock-on effect was they could only provide the ‘basics’ in care. Particular concerns were raised with the maternity unit, with overworked staff claiming they were ‘fire fighting’.

Staff said they did not have time to help women with fundamental support such as breast feeding.

Mr Grayson said, following a recruitment drive since the CQC’s visit in February, staffing levels for midwives at both the DGH and Conquest Hospital were the ‘best they’ve ever been’.

The CQC report said, “There are long and short-term staff shortages across the Trust and at all levels including consultants, middle grade doctors, qualified and unqualified nursing and midwifery staff.

“There is heavy reliance on locums and bank staff. There is clear evidence that this is impacting negatively on the quality and safety of the service in the areas that we visited.”

The spokeswoman from RCN added that poor staffing levels are not unique to the DGH and Conquest.

She said, “It is extremely difficult to offer consistent care to patients when there aren’t the appropriate numbers of skilled staff available.”