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Health trust failed to protect welfare of patients
A NURSING chief has insisted the trust which runs Buckinghamshire's hospitals is committed to caring for its patients after inspectors said they had failed them.
The Care Quality Commission has told Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust it has not protected the welfare of patients due to low staffing levels in some wards at Amersham Hospital.
However, there was better news for health chiefs after the same report found improvements have been made to staffing levels in some wards at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.
The CQC has issued a formal warning to the trust that it has failed to meet the national standard on staffing levels following unannounced visits to Buckinghamshire Neurorehabilitation Unit in July.
Inspectors found that nursing staff were under pressure to meet people’s needs on some wards, and patients said that this was having an impact on their care. Rotas showed that, on some shifts, the number of staff on duty fell short of the trust’s planned levels.
It follows a previous warning in March about staff numbers.
Adrian Hughes, Regional Director of CQC in the South, said: "The trust must ensure that it takes action to address staffing levels at Amersham Hospital, where a shortage of nursing staff on the wards we visited has resulted in patients feeling that care is not always being delivered in the way it should be.
"People are entitled to be treated in services which are safe, effective, caring, well led, and responsive to their needs, and where a service is failing on any of these grounds action is needed.
"The trust must ensure that there are always adequate and sufficiently skilled staff on duty - and make sure that these staff are adequately supported to meet people’s needs."
Another unannounced inspection will take place as the situation is reviewed.
The CQC said improvements at Stoke Mandeville were significant but the hospital is still not fully meeting national standards.
The trust stressed that since the visit in July an action plan has already been put in place and is being led and monitored weekly.
Lynne Swiatczak, chief nurse and director of patient care standards, said: "We are committed to the care and safety of our patients, and to ensure that our staff have the right development and support.
"I recognise that some improvements are still required around staffing and support at Amersham Hospital; this is something that the board has already acknowledged and been working on for some time.
"We are taking the feedback from inspectors very seriously and have instigated a number of additional actions to those already underway within the Trust to ensure further improvements are quickly made."
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