New Scandal Hits Stafford Hospital

CQC Called In Amid Concerns About Patient Safety


Administrators at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust have called in Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors to check if low staffing levels are causing patient safety issues.

The Trust has had a number of issues in recruiting and retaining nursing at Stafford Hospital, which became infamous because of a high mortality rate and widespread medical negligence which led to a Public Inquiry led by Sir Robert Francis.

According to administrators, the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust will be dissolved in November, with a number of services moving to nearby hospitals in the West Midlands area.

Stafford Hospital will be absorbed by the University Hospital of North Staffordshire (UHNS) while Cannock Hospital will become part of the Royal Wolverhampton Trust, reports the BBC.

But in the meantime, the hospital still has a commitment to ensure members of the public are receiving the quality of care needed to ensure they recover from their illnesses or injuries.

Last month, the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust reported it has 85 vacancies across its workforce, equal to 11 per cent of its entire staff base.

This has caused a number of issues and 22 nurses and doctors are being borrowed from the neighbouring University Hospital of North Staffordshire to make up for the shortfall.

A statement released by the hospital's administrators read: "Together with our partners, we will consider carefully the CQC's report, findings and advice and will act accordingly in the interests of patient safety.

"We are currently planning the inspection and recruiting appropriate specialist advisors."

The Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust has been in administration since early 2013 when it was decided by watchdog Monitor that its services were "financially and clinically unsustainable".

A number of medical organisations, including the Royal College of Surgeons and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), have called for staffing levels at hospitals across the country to be boosted as part of an attempt to increase patient safety.

Research published by the RCN in 2013 found that 86 per cent of ward nurses felt their places of work did not have adequate staff.

Expert Opinion
The staffing figures at Stafford Hospital are concerning as patient safety should in no way suffer because the Trust is being dissolved.

“We are pleased that the CQC will investigate standards within the Trust and hope this will be done as quickly as possible to minimise any potential risk to patients.

“Any shortcomings that are identified in the review must be resolved as quickly as possible to ensure that standards cannot slip further and so that staff are well supported to provide the best possible care.”
Mandy Luckman, Partner