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Staff Shortage on Cornish Hospital Wards

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11:01am 19th July 2012

Pirate FM has learnt there are not always enough properly trained staff on wards at Treliske.

A report by inspectors says it has meant patients with dementia were left wandering around, playing with equipment.

The Care Quality Commission made a surprise visit in May and found most standards of care were good.

But they say staff, patients and relatives are worried about the number of nurses on some wards and their level of training.

In the report they note: "When we arrived on Wheal Agar ward it took over five minutes for anybody to answer the bell to let us in. Staff told us that staffing levels go in 'peaks and troughs' as often agency staff bought in to help did not always have the relevant skills and experience to look after people with dementia."

In one case inspectors saw a woman take a piece of electronic equipment from the nurse's station: "The equipment might have been harmful to her or become damaged by her meaning that the equipment would then not be available for other people to use."

The report concludes: "There was not always enough qualified, skilled and experienced staff to meet people's needs."

The Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust said it is fixing the problem by bringing in extra staff and insists they are providing a high standard of care.

Nurse Executive, Andrew MacCallum said: "The Inspection Team has raised a moderate level of concern with staffing levels in some areas which suggests a potential risk of care falling below reasonable standards. However their observations of practice on the wards during their visit show, notwithstanding the pressures sometimes faced, our staff are clearly committed to and delivering high standards of patient care."

"We will be responding to the Care Quality Commission, reaffirming the actions relating to staffing that were underway at the time of the visit and those that we have since implemented, including recruitment of additional nursing staff. This should give patients confidence in the level of care they should expect to receive at all of RCHT's hospitals."

11:01am 19th July 2012

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