Staff shortages at Sussex NHS becoming the norm

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GMB, the Union for Healthcare Professionals, are to monitor concerns that safe staffing levels on wards at Mill View Hospital in Hove are not always adhered to despite the Trusts own staffing level requirements and policies.

GMB were made aware of the Trust’s concerns over staffing levels when a pre-planned training session for nursing staff on Duty of Care and how to best protect themselves and their patients was cancelled as the Trust were unable to release staff due to shortages.

GMB have asked all its members working at Mill View to assist in helping to understand the extent of the issues around staff shortages by reporting and recording all cases and times where they find themselves on a ward and understaffed below safe professional standards and Trust policy.

Gary Palmer GMB Regional Organiser says:

“Even with understanding the effects of the chronic NHS Mental Health Services under funding, recruitment and retention difficulties or how busy they find themselves, the Trust must always be looking to support hardworking staff and patients by ensuring staffing levels are such that both are protected and safe at all times.

“At times, staffing shortages mean that potentially there are real concerns over patient safety.

“Allowing staff to update and refresh their knowledge and understanding is vitally important and if staffing levels are such that doing so is going to be prevented, then the Trust need to take a long look at the potential consequences in their failings around duty of care. GMB will use all the data collected by our members to assist the Senior Management Team to correct and improve safe manning levels at all times within the Trust.

“The possibility is always going to be there that the longer this issue continues, a serious incident will arise purely as a result of under staffing and overwork, no matter how hard the dedicated and professional mental health staff working at the Trust try to prevent it during times of staff shortages.

“It is preventable and neither lack of funding or ineffectual management who failed to act to change things are going to be acceptable excuses, if or when an incident occurs as a result of staff shortages.”

Contact: Gary Palmer on 07552 165950; Paul Maloney on 07801 343839 or Michelle Gordon on 07866 369259