Hospital takes action after nursing staff numbers on stroke ward fall below agreed levels

West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds ANL-150319-095542001
West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds ANL-150319-095542001
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The amount of nursing staff on the stroke ward at West Suffolk Hospital is falling below agreed levels, a report has revealed.

In May, 44 per cent of shifts saw staffing fall below the hospital’s agreed levels on ward G8 following vacancies for 2.8 registered staff and 3.6 non-registered such as healthcare assistants.

There were 27.8 registered staff and 22.2 non-registered with 3.80 per cent unplanned absence and one post which had been appointed but hadn’t yet started.

The percentage of shifts in which staffing fell below agreed levels on G8 has been around the same level for the last six months and was at its peak in March with 51.6 per cent.

Nichole Day, executive chief nurse at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said they had reviewed staffing levels on G8 and developed an action plan to recruit into the vacant posts.

She said: “Agreed staffing levels are set locally and take into account the number of patients on the ward as well as their average acuity.

“We monitor the situation across the hospital on a shift-by-shift basis, and will move staff from elsewhere or bring in temporary staff if numbers fall below the agreed level so that we can continue to provide safe, effective care.”

Mrs Day stressed that the nurse staffing figures do not take into account the number of therapists working on the wards. She said: “As G8 is our stroke ward, a lot of care is provided by non-nursing staff, such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists, who are an important part of the ward team and play a vital role in the recovery and rehabilitation of our patients.”

Mrs Day added that recent Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme data placed the hospital as the top performing in the eastern region for the care it provides, which ‘shows that patients on G8 are receiving a high quality service’.