Airedale Hospital staffing concerns raised

Airedale Hospital bosses have accepted staffing levels are safe but not without concerns, it was revealed at their latest board meeting.

They were commenting last Wednesday about a review of nursing and midwifery staffing levels, 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.”

But non-executive director, Anne Gregory, said: “We’ve had assurances before 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 they feel staff are very pressured, and sometimes the timeliness of the response to patients is not what it should be.”

She added: “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 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 Care Quality Commission inspectors had made it clear Airedale’s staffing levels are safe, though she warned the situation on the wards does fluctuate from hour to hour.

Mr Dearden added: “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 to more acute areas when required.

“We have very strong nursing leadership in this organisation. They are focused on this matter all the time, 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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