Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, said today (August 5th 2015) that there was the possibility of a severe jobs crisis on the horizon for Middlesbrough’s James Cook University Hospital as the hospital found itself facing diametrically opposing orders from government regulators today.
“Yesterday, Monitor, the organisation set up to oversee Foundation Trust Hospitals like James Cook, order what is, in effect, a recruitment freeze for all hospitals they inspect. Trusts are told to ensure safe staffing guidance is applied in a “proportionate and appropriate way” and to take account of financial impact when planning their waiting lists.”
The letter, sent by Monitor’s chief executive David Bennett, states: “Ministers have been sighted on these options and are ready to support all providers to reduce their deficits in a managed way although, of course, all actions should be consistent with your responsibilities for safety and the delivery of constitutional standards.”
“One of the key problems at James Cook, and one identified by all concerned in the NHS, is a shortage of nursing staff.
“Only a few short weeks ago, another Government Inspectorate body, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) after a rigorous examination of the hospital’s working concluded that the trust was rated as requiring improvement and it warned: “There were nursing staff shortages across wards and departments, particularly at the James Cook University Hospital and Friarage Hospital in urgent and emergency care and in children’s services.”
“So there we have it; one Government body is asking for a jobs freeze, whilst the other is stressing the need, in the interests of the patient, to boost the number of nursing staff on the wards.
“The core reason for all this is that the NHS provider sector is anticipating a deficit of more than £2bn by the end of this financial year with senior NHS officials no longer confident the current levels of care quality provided by the NHS can be sustained under current funding. Put simply, the financial crisis in the NHS is threatening to spiral out of control and hit standards of patient care.
“The suggestion that hospitals can ignore safe staffing guidance alarms me, and it will certainly alarm patients and their families. The Government, sunk in the complacent days of a warm summer seems to care little and promise to do even less. It is a shocking state of affairs.”