Hospital's reassurances over staffing

IPSWICH Hospital are today reassuring patients their accident and emergency department is not short-staffed.The announcement comes after the release of a damning report from the National Audit Office which revealed more than half of NHS trusts in the country do not have enough A&E staff to provide a proper round the clock service.

IPSWICH Hospital are today reassuring patients their accident and emergency department is not short-staffed.

The announcement comes after the release of a damning report from the National Audit Office which revealed more than half of NHS trusts in the country do not have enough A&E staff to provide a proper round the clock service.

The survey of 126 trusts in England found 84per cent had a shortage of nurses, 43pc said there was a shortage of permanent consultants and 55pc reported a lack of other medical staff.

Jan Rowsell, spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital, said: "Our A&E department was one of the first areas in the hospital to introduce self-rostering, which means that staff can actually sign up for the hours they want to do.


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"This means we have been able to attract and retain a really high quality of staff.

"Obviously any national shortage of a particular specialist of doctor has an impact on us and an outbreak of illness be it flu, or a stomach bug, amongst staff can cause problems.

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"It would be wrong to say there have never been times when we've struggled for staff, but we do not have a staff shortage."

Today's report, called Improving Emergency Care in England, also highlighted the long waiting times still experienced in many hospitals by some of the most vulnerable patients like children, the elderly and those with mental health problems.

Ms Rowsell said Ipswich Hospital are working hard to tackle this problem: "In many cases involving people like this we have to work with other agencies and if these agencies are not 24 hours that's when complications can occur.

"We are working with these agencies to increase the support available outside normal hours."

Bottlenecks and the management of beds were also highlighted as issues that need improving if waiting times in accident and emergency departments are to be reduced.

Ms Rowsell said: "When we do have problems it is because we have not got the beds. It's not because we have not got the staff."

The hospital runs at a very high bed occupancy rate but it is hoped much of the pressure on it's A&E department will be eased when a new acute medical unit opens next year.

What do you think of the report? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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