Friday 6 September 2013, 17:03
Adrian Goldberg leads the 5 live Investigates team back into action with an examination of staffing at hospital accident and emergency (A&E) units in England.
Some hospitals have just over half the doctors or nurses they believe they need.
The problem is heightened because of the difficulty in recruiting staff to what is what one of the most stressful posts in medicine.
Many A&E units struggled to cope last winter and the staffing shortfall identified by 5 live Investigates suggests this coming winter may also pose significant challenges.
Inadequate staffing levels are known to be a risk factor in patients receiving poor care - an issue identified in official reports into recent care scandals.
We hear from a Lincoln man who believes his wife’s treatment for a stroke was seriously affected by a lack of staff in A&E and then in the specialist stroke ward. His wife was admitted to a ‘corridor’ according to her notes, and only sent for a scan almost two-and-a-half hours after arrival. It was another 16 hours before his wife saw a specialist stroke doctor. He was told the stroke unit was understaffed because it was near Christmas.
The Government does not want to set mandatory staffing levels in the NHS, but a growing body of academic research says death rates rise in units where staff have to deal with a lot of patients.
Others stories the 5 live Investigates team will be revealing over the forthcoming weeks include the driving instructors cheating their pupils; the tax-avoidance schemes costing town halls an estimated £100 million; and concerns that we’ve dropped our guard against rabies. Also, the fire-fighters struggling to maintain their fitness as they are required to work to their 60th birthday.
Also, we want to hear from listeners who want us to investigate a story. Just drop us a line at 5LiveInvestigates@bbc.co.uk
5 Live Investigates is back on air at 11am on Sunday (September 8th).
Associated audio: Staff shortages "contributed to my stillbirth"
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Tuesday 3 September 2013, 11:23
Tuesday 10 September 2013, 09:02