Dozens quit amid Stafford Hospital staff crisis
Dozens of workers are leaving Stafford Hospital each month – with bosses struggling to find replacements as a staffing crisis deepens, it has been revealed.
The number of staff moving on hit a new high of 35 in July – higher than the recent average of 23 – and only fell slightly to 29 in August.
Chiefs have admitted they are finding it difficult to attract new workers with Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust being dissolved in November.
They insist they are continuing to recruit to ensure standards of care are not hit.
Some 11 per cent of posts are currently vacant, which is more than double the target of five per cent.
The trust is battling to keep the total number of vacancies to around 80.
It comes after it emerged nearly a quarter of consultants jobs at Stafford Hospital are currently vacant.
There are 117 consultant posts, of which 26 are vacant.
Most of the vacancies are filled by locum doctors but there are gaps in acute surgery, elderly medicine and radiology departments, which the trust has outlined as major areas of concern.
Trust bosses say 22 staff are due to start work in the coming weeks and a further 18 have confirmed start dates for later this year. Of the staff that left in July, six were nurses, six were admin and clerical workers three were from estates.
Trust chief executive Maggie Oldham said: "We continue to monitor to check if the current staffing difficulties are impacting on the quality of the patient care and patient experience through a review of indicators usually associated with poor staffing levels.
"The trust's vacancy rate among nurses remains challenging, and the recent departure of nurses who came to support the opening of the escalation ward for winter pressures has resulted in a slight increase in vacancies and further concern around the stability of nurse staffing levels.
To try to ensure that quality standards and the patient experience are maintained, the trust uses its own nurse bank or agency nurses.
"The nurse bank are staff who are employed by the trust and this is the preferred option to cover staff shortages as these staff are inducted through the trust training programme."
She added: "Despite the significant operational, workforce and financial challenges the Trust continues to maintain the quality of service provision to its patients."
It comes as scores of people prayed for the future of Stafford Hospital. The multi-faith service was held yesterday at the Weston Road site, where dozens of tents have been pitched in a protest over cuts to services
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