Union blasts £5m to plug staff gaps in Cumbrian NHS trusts
Last updated at 12:34, Tuesday, 27 August 2013
Two of north Cumbria’s key NHS organisations spent £5m on overtime and temporary workers to plug staffing gaps.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has hit out at the level of spending, brandishing it “inefficient”.
Figures obtained by the RCN under Freedom of Information laws show the Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which runs community and mental health services in the county, spent more than £3.5m in the 2011/12 financial year on bank staff and overtime payments.
The figure was just over three and half times more than it spent in 2009/10.
North Cumbria Univer-sity Hospitals NHS Trust, which manages The Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle and the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven, paid out just over £1.5m in 2011/12.
The RCN’s regional official for Cumbria, Glenn Turp, said the findings showed trusts in Cumbria and the north east spent more than £182m for temporary staff and in overtime payments during 2010 and March 2012.
“This is obviously not an efficient way to deliver a service, as it is much more cost-efficient to have the right number of permanent staff with the right skills in the first place,” he said.
The figures also revealed that the number of nurses and healthcare assistants at the hospitals trust had fallen by around 30, while staffing at the partnership trust increased by 90nurses.
The RCN says the incr- eases in staff numbers are likely due to reorganisation and not because more nurses have been employed.
Mr Turp added: “Our findings show that, while some trusts are valiantly trying to avoid cutting nursing jobs in the face of ever more challenging financial targets from central government, others are struggling to cope.”
Last month, the Government’s Keogh Review highlighted concerns over standards of care at Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary and the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven, including inadequate staffing.
A spokesperson for the Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said: “The public expect us to have the right number of staff with the right skills available to meet their needs. In a difficult financial climate it is important that we have staff working flexibly through both our bank [supply of temporary staff] and some overtime when necessary.
“While the vast majority of hours worked are through permanent jobs we need this flexibility, but we look constantly at the balance between permanent and additional hours and make adjustments where necessary. And, while staffing is important, providing the right care isn’t just about jobs – it’s also about having the right environment.
“That’s why we are investing millions in new facilities such as the Ruskin Unit at Carleton Clinic which opened last week.
“At Keswick, with brilliant support from the Keswick Hospital Friends, a major investment is underway to create more comfortable accommodation.
“Much more investment is planned. So, in difficult circumstances, and with amazing support across the county from our dedicated staff and our governors who speak on behalf of communities across Cumbria, we are working hard to get the balance right.”
North Cumbria University Hospitals says the trust is recruiting nurses to address its staffing issues.
Chris Platton, acting director of nursing and quality, said: “We have been going through a period of active recruitment over the past year, with a number of new permanent nurses joining.
“We use bank nurses in order to address any shortfalls in nurse staffing levels and have recently appointed permanent staff to our nurse bench who work on a variety of wards depending on patient need which is identified by our matrons.
“We have also been looking at the skill mix on the wards, ensuring that our frontline nursing teams have clear leadership and accountability on the ward and also that our nurses have time to do what they do best and provide nursing care for patients.”
First published at 12:33, Tuesday, 27 August 2013
Published by http://www.newsandstar.co.uk
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Just read the horrendous story of how the Armstrong's suffered as a result of "Yet another failure" at the C.I. It really is time for the politicians to step in and replace failing staff who won't work or don't want to work in the roles that they are employed to work in.Time and time again we are reading reports of unmotivated/ uncaring staff who would rather engage in petty tittle tattle and coffeeying it up instead of looking after patients.Reports of nurse who refuse to clean up or wash patients because they feel it is beneath their station to do so.We really must have this dying model of the N.H.S. handed over to a private health care provider to ensure that this abuse comes to and end.Either that or we start criminal neglect charges against unresponsive staff?
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