Number of nurses on wards too low at New Cross and Cannock Chase hospitals

Number of nurses on wards too low at New Cross and Cannock Chase hospitals

Health chiefs have a national target of 80 per cent nurse staffing across inpatient wards – but data shows 33 per cent of wards at the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust dipped below that level on average each month last year.In January and February last year, 42 per cent of wards were understaffed for nurses and health care assistants.The figure dropped to 37 per cent in March, and improved to 27 per cent in June.But July and August were tough months again for nurses, with 35 per cent and 36 per cent of wards understaffed in the two hospitals.For the last two months of 2016, 29 per cent of wards were understaffed.The main gaps in the rotas were for registered nurse night shifts.In January and February, there were 16 wards understaffed for night nurses, and for November and December, 13 wards had less staff than the national target.To try and ease the staffing crisis, the trust is looking to recruit more overseas nurses, and is also taking part in a pilot scheme to train health care assistants to become nursing associates.The two-year qualification can then be topped up with an additional 18-month course, after which workers would become fully-qualified registered nurses.
By the end of February, 16 trainee nurses are expected to join the trust, with a further 13 expected later in the year.Altogether the trust had 67 new recruits in the nursing department in December, with 34 people leaving, including 26 registered nurses.Cheryl Etches, chief nursing officer for the trust, believes that improvements are being made and said that plans are in place to help further ease the pressure on nurses.She said: “If you compare November and December to January and February, the number has come down so we are having a positive impact in recruiting staff to the Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals Trust. It is coming down steadily.“Our attentions are now turning to retaining staff.“We have a number of avenues that we’re ex…