Hospital staff are being made to work on wards where they don’t feel they have the experience to provide safe care, it was claimed today.
Stretched staff are being moved around hospitals run by Lancashire Teaching Hospitals to meet demand.
A memo from bosses at Royal Preston Hospital given to staff seen by the Evening Post states: “It is natural that some staff will feel anxious about providing care in unfamiliar surroundings.
It’s natural that some staff will feel unsure or lack confidence about being able to provide safe care for patients in escalation areas.”
It isn’t uncommon for staff to take responsibilty for patients anywhere in the trust as requested, but they have been left concerned.
The memo – where staff were thanked for their efforts and told how to raise concerns – explains: “The escalation continues to cause us considerable concern and on a daily basis you all work towards the best solutions for achieving safe staffing for all patients in our care.”
Dave Savage, of Preston and South Ribble Trades Union Council, said workers “feel uncomfortable at doing work for which they are not trained or equipped” and said they are “forced to work on dangerously understaffed wards and who are working in unsafe conditions.”
Sue Reed, nursing director at the Trust said: “All of our nursing staff are trained and qualified to provide safe and effective care for our patients. We do not expect staff to provide more specialised or complex care without the appropriate training and competence.
“We recognise that some staff are less comfortable working in unfamiliar wards and departments, and are committed to providing any extra support they might need. The hospitals have been exceptionally busy for a sustained period, and I sincerely thank our staff for their continued commitment to providing compassionate care for our patients.”
Suzanne Hargreaves, operations director added: “We have tried and tested plans to make sure we can provide safe and effective care when hospitals are busier than usual. We do everything we can to ensure we have enough capacity and resources to admit anyone who requires urgent hospital care, whilst continuing to undertake as many scheduled procedures and operations as possible. At times this means redeploying staff to where they’re needed most.”