NHS trusts
improve staffing
to boost
care levels

TWO NHS trusts serving patients in the region are enhancing staffing to improve standards of care.

A specialist critical care outreach team for at-risk patients has been created at the South Tees NHS trust, which runs the James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough and the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton.

Bosses say the move is designed to improve safety and reduce unexpected deaths by better vigilance of seriously-ill patients on wards through earlier detection of those who are deteriorating.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The trust was among those singled out in a report last week 
for having higher-than-expected death rates which officials blamed on an increase in elderly patients suffering from respiratory illness last winter and problems in the way illnesses were recorded.

Managers say they hope the team of specialist doctors and nurses will make timely interventions leading to improved care, fewer cardiac arrests and better use of critical care beds,

Nurse consultant Lindsay Garcia said: “Our ability to recognise, react and treat patients whose condition suddenly deteriorates is a key patient safety priority for us.

Patients who come into hospital want to feel safe and cared for and comforted in the knowledge they’re in the best place for prompt and effective treatment if they do become very ill, very quickly.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In another move, NHS chiefs running Doncaster Royal Infirmary, Montagu Hospital in Mexborough and Bassetlaw Hospital in Worksop have agreed to ensure at least 65 per cent of nursing staff on its wards and clinical departments are qualified nurses or midwives.

Current staffing is based on a ratio of 60 per cent qualified staff to 40 per cent healthcare assistants and care support workers.

The decision is based on analysis of the mix of patients admitted to the three hospitals in the last six months, including the seriousness of their condition and other factors that could affect the specialist care they receive.

In June, the trust announced it was investing an additional £7m in expanding bed capacity and staffing to ensure patients receive the higher standard of care.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Chief executive Mike Pinkerton said the move also stemmed in part from feedback from staff that they were seeing older, frailer and more seriously-ill patients, with more complex needs.

“It made sense to look in detail at our staffing levels and the ratio of qualified nurses and midwives to unqualified care support workers and healthcare assistants,” he said.