The Care Quality Commission has published a damning report after its inspection of Plymouth's Derriford Hospital.
Sue Matthews, South West Regional Officer for the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), said it wanted to work with the hospital's management to help deliver reform:
While there has been improvement in a number of services, it was of particular concern to the RCN South West region to see that challenges are still arising from poor staffing levels in ward areas and operating theatres - as these are issues which we have raised with trust directors over a significant period of time.
The report clearly highlights that staff themselves are struggling to cope as a direct result of inappropriate staffing levels and skill mix.
We acknowledge the hard work that many nurses and health care assistants are doing in difficult circumstances, and continue to support them - they are the ones taking on the care of those patients delayed or distressed by cancelled procedures, working excess hours to manage overruns, and caring for patients in recovery when there are no suitable critical care beds available.
These are issues that trust management must address, as having too few staff, and staff with inadequate experience, will always have a detrimental impact on patient care.
Although the trust have now implemented a recruitment plan for nursing staff, we believe that more must be done to attract experienced nurses to support quality care delivery.
The RCN would like to work with the trust in the implementation of their plans - particularly to ensure that appropriate training and development is made available for newly recruited staff, as the CQC report clearly shows that this is not currently taking place.
This does not safeguard the health, safety, or welfare of patients - and these factors should be the driving principle of any hospital.