Northern Ireland

Craigavon Area Hospital inspection finds shortage of nurses

Craigavon Area Hospital
Image caption An unannounced inspection at Craigavon Area Hospital took place in April

Northern Ireland's health regulators say they found a shortage of nurses in several areas of Craigavon Area Hospital during an inspection in April.

The inspection was part of the RQIA's ongoing programme of unannounced inspections of hospitals which provide emergency services.

Inspectors noted not enough nurses in the medical and surgical wards.

However, it said the Southern Health and Social Care trust is working actively to address the deficit.

The inspectors found there was a shortage of nurses between the surgical and medical wards.

At the time of the inspection, the rota was short of nine full-time nurses.

A recruitment process is now under way with posts being filled in the meantime with bank and agency staff.

The review found that in the past year, six staff members had left, with reasons including the commute to work, career progression and seeking to work in a different speciality.

According to the RQIA, the trust has been proactive in recruiting nursing staff for the emergency department.

Posts at risk

In the past year, 25 new nursing staff have taken up post.

However with 96 full-time nurses, the unit exceeds the number of funded posts by 34.

According to the health trust, these posts are considered to be at risk as they are not funded from within the emergency department's budget.

The RQIA's chief executive, Olive Macleod, said overall the findings were good.

"In each area inspected, we observed caring, sensitive and insightful staff working to maintain the dignity and privacy of those in their care," she said.

"Patients also told us they were very satisfied with the standard of care and treatment they received."

The inspection also praised an open and transparent culture in the surgical ward where staff were positive about the support they received from management.

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