Nurse shortage hits East Cleveland Primary Care Hospital

East Cleveland Primary Care Hospital
Image caption The unit has struggled to recruit trained staff

Hospital bosses on Teesside have cut opening hours of an urgent care centre because of a shortage of trained staff.

The centre at the East Cleveland Primary Care Hospital in Brotton normally operates 24 hours a day, but has suspended overnight services.

South Tees Hospital NHS Trust said it had experienced problems recruiting trained urgent care nurses.

The area's MP Tom Blenkinsop described the move as "extremely concerning", blaming it on NHS budgets cuts.

Until further notice the centre will open between 09:00 and 17:00 Monday to Friday and 08:00 to 20:00 on weekends and bank holidays.

The trust's urgent care lead, Nicola Easton said: "We've had staffing pressures for some time. We have been using temporary staffing to cover vacant posts, but that resource is now being used to cover a recent vacant urgent care post at Guisborough.

'Beyond parody'

"This means we have to offer the reduced service in the interests of patient safety and to release pressure on the team."

Patients are being directed to other facilities in Redcar and Middlesbrough.

Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP Mr Blenkinsop said: "This is really bad news for the hospital and East Cleveland residents. It is almost beyond parody how stretched services have become in recent years.

"The timing of this change couldn't be worse, as the festive period approaches and the weather becomes more dangerous, provision of urgent care is vital.

"I have requested an urgent meeting with the Secretary of State for Health to discuss the situation before something seriously goes wrong."

According to the trust, 56 patients used the unit outside of the revised opening times in October.

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