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Airedale Hospital staffing levels 'safe' - but concerns are raised
10:00am Friday 13th December 2013 in News
Airedale Hospital bosses have accepted that staffing levels are safe – but some concern was expressed by foundation board members.
They were commenting on a review of nursing and midwifery staffing levels, which was presented by director of nursing Rob Dearden.
Asking the board to endorse the review, Mr Dearden said: “We have a strong record on patient safety, but we must never be complacent.”
However, non-executive director Anne Gregory said: “We’ve had assurances before that staffing is adequate across the wards, but this report suggests it’s not.
“That concerns me. If you go into a ward and it feels and looks under pressure, then it probably is. The message that comes through from patients and visitors is that they feel staff are very pressured, and sometimes the timeliness of the response to patients is not what it should be.
“The patient is at the heart of our hospital, and what’s important is what happens day-to-day on those wards.
“The patient experience is our priority, and we should be self-critical and constantly work to ensure that the patient experience is the best we can provide.”
Airedale chief executive Bridget Fletcher said: “We did not give a false assurance. The wards are busy, but that is the nature of the business.”
Director of operations Stacey Hunter said that Care Quality Commission inspectors had made it clear Airedale’s staffing levels were safe, although she warned the situation on the wards did fluctuate from hour to hour.
Mr Dearden said: “Pressures are put on the system but we do everything we can to make sure staffing levels are as safe as possible, and that we have the flexibility to move staff when required.
“We have very strong nursing leadership in this organisation. They flex staff appropriately and make the best of our resources.
“But it is a fluid situation, and there are times when demand can be significant, as we saw last winter. Sometimes it can be challenging and tough and there are occasions when we are stretched.”
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