Nurses travel hundreds of miles to fill staff shortage

By Antony Gedge in Health

BRONGLAIS Hospital is so short of nursing staff that some agency nurses have travelled hundreds of miles to work shifts at the hospital, it has been warned.

The independent review found that nursing staff levels at Bronglais were “acutely low”, with an over-reliance on bank and agency staff.

But the report by Prof Alison Hopkins also warned that patients in the Bronglais catchment area are waiting longer than patients from other Hywel Dda hospitals for appointments for cardiac and neurosurgical services in other health board areas.

The health board asked Prof Hopkins to look at nursing staffing levels across the health board’s four main hospitals, with Prof Hopkins raising major concerns over the nursing staffing levels at Bronglais.

In Prof Hopkins’ report she said: “The substantive nurse staffing levels in the hospital are acutely low with an excessively high reliance on bank and evidence of agency staff travelling hundreds of miles from across the UK to work a single shift.

“There was a reported deficit of 64 whole-time equivalent nursing staff at the point of the review with medical rotas pressurised also, on a number of levels.”

While the health board has said that the scale of nursing vacancies has improved recently, the board has admitted over a number of years that staff recruitment is a major problem, not just in Hywel Dda, but across the whole UK.

See this week’s south editions for the full story, in shops and online tomorrow

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