Private Business Intermediaries

Dangerous Staffing Levels in UK NHS Hospitals

16/01/2013 | By Sharmila Chauhan
The Labour Party has produced a report based on data from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which suggests that a number of NHS hospitals do not have enough staff “to keep people safe and meet their health and welfare needs” This CQC standard is one that every part of the health service must meet and one that every hospital (whether NHS or private) is screened for in the UK.

Seventeen NHS hospitals were named at the last CQC to have inadequate staffing levels. There were:
Scarborough Hospital; Milton Keynes Hospital; Royal Cornwall Hospital; Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust in Liverpool; Queen’s Hospital, Romford; Stamford & Rutland Hospital; Southampton General Hospital; Croydon University Hospital; Bodmin Hospital, Cornwall; Northampton General Hospital; St Peter’s Hospital, Maldon; Queen Mary’s Hospital, London; Chase Farm Hospital, London; Westmorland General Hospital; Pilgrim Hospital, Leicestershire; St Anne’s House, East Sussex; and Princess Royal Hospital, West Sussex.

A number of London Ambulance Service and eight mental health units were also warned about dangerous staffing levels. They were: Ainslie and Highams Inpatient Facility, London; The Campbell Centre, Bedford; Forston Clinic, Dorset; The Cavell Centre, Peterborough; The Bradgate Mental Health Unit, Leicestershire; Avon and Wiltshire NHS Mental Health Trust; Blackberry Hill Hospital, Bristol; and Park House, Manchester.

The impact of low staffing means that patients with dementia were in adequately cared for and often left in a way that they could not reach the nursing call bells, table, drinks or even their own clothing. Similarly, some midwives at a hospital in Romford, Essex were found to have inadequate skills and concequently women in labour were exposed to unnecessary risk. To see more on the report, click here.

Independent sector - keeping up levels of staff

Freedom Health took a look at the latest data for the independent sector from the CQC to see how it compared to the NHS. 

Only 10 out of 346 independent hospitals needed improvement in standard of staffing. The CQC reported to need to ‘take action’ at only one independent hospital in respect to ‘standards of providing care, treatment & support which meets people's needs’ but none of the independent hospitals were reported to have ‘action’ from the CQC with regards to the standards of staffing.