STAFF at Burton’s Queen’s Hospital are facing increasing pressure to cope with demand after it was revealed its accident and emergency department is currently understaffed by 10 per cent.
It means that with winter looming, when the hospital traditionally sees a surge in patients, staff in the department are coming under increasing pressure to make up for the void.
The trust which runs the hospital was placed into special measures in July, with one of its urgent requirements being to address its current staffing levels.
The recent Keogh report found the shortage led to nurses working dangerously long shifts and could cause poor care to be provided to patients.
Nine positions are currently vacant within the A&E department, but bosses insist they are on course to rectify the situation, adamant that the empty positions will be full by the end of October in readiness for the busy winter period.
Last month, the Mail reported bosses were considering looking to the continent to ease its staffing crisis, with drafting nurses in from Portugal one of the measures being discussed.
Mark Powell, the hospital’s director of operations, said: “As a trust we have been proactive in recruiting to vacant nursing posts and we have been particularly aware of the pressures in the emergency department.
“By the end of October we will be up to full complement in terms of emergency department nurse staffing levels.
“We have also increased the number of consultants from six to seven. This enables us to extend the hours when senior-led care is available for emergency patients coming into the department on weekdays and at weekends.
“The new Acute Assessment Centre, which opened in August, also forms part of our overall strategy to manage demands within the system. This new way of working enhances our capacity to continue to provide high quality care for patients.”
Despite insisting the hospital is prepared for winter, Mr Powell reminded people to see their GP wherever possible.
He added: “It is still imperative that local people use emergency services appropriately. Both 999 and the emergency department for seriously ill people and emergencies only.”