Thursday, August 01, 2013

Review of nurse staffing levels at North Cumbria Hospitals

A major review of nursing staff levels at the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven and the North Cumberland Infirmary at Carlisle has been launched following on from the Keogh report.

The report praised the action already being taken, but said much more needed to be done to address urgent concerns.

The trust was one of 14 being reviewed, and one of 10 subsequently placed in special measures by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Among the recommendations made by the Keogh review was that the North Cumbria trust should urgently review staffing arrangements. Inspectors urged that this was done as soon as possible, to minimise the impact on staff morale. Now the trust has announced it is beginning a consultation period with some staff, which it says will address the current skill mix imbalance which exists across some wards.

The review also aims to ensure there is appropriate nursing leadership and safe and effective nursing care at all times, for all patients. The changes will not affect specialist nurses, only those on wards.

The proposed changes will see the introduction of a new leadership structure: a dedicated ward manager will be on every ward, supported by two senior nurses.

A spokeswoman for the trust told the Whitehaven News that the model is “tried and tested” and insisted all ward managers and senior nurses will take part in a leadership development programme.
“As a result of changes,” she continued, “it is estimated that under five per cent of senior nursing staff will need to be re-banded from their current roles to become part of the core nursing team on the wards.”

RCN Northern Regional Director Glenn Turp, northern regional director for the Royal College of Nursing, said that while the union will be working with staff and management as part of the review, he felt “unable to comment” on the process until he could see the outcome.

He continued: “However, what we would hope to see are positive changes to the skills mix imbalance and nursing shortages to ensure the safe and effective care of all patients.”

Consultations began on Monday and are scheduled to run until the week beginning August 19. The changes will come into effect from October 1.

The trust are working with the NHS Trust Development Authority to meet the other Keogh requirements.


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