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Number of A&E nurses to double in Shropshire

The number of A &E nurses is being doubled in Shropshire to address significant problems in Shrewsbury and Telford's Hospital Trust's emergency departments. Credit: PA

Nursing staff numbers at A&E departments at Shropshire's two main hospitals are set to almost double after plans to improve care was backed.

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust's (SaTH) board backed plans to increase the full-time nursing staff numbers from 78 to 149 by 2021/22.

They will be based at the A&E departments at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Telford's Princess Royal Hospital.

149
full time A&E nurses will be in place by 2022.

The move will also see more senior level nurses recruited, but Nigel Lee, chief operating officer at the trust, conceded that finding the right people to fill the roles would be a challenge.

The action is being taken to address significant problems in the trust's emergency departments, which saw the health watchdog, the Care Quality Commission, describe the performance as "inadequate" after its most recent inspection.

Mr Lee said that while money will have to be spent on increasing the workforce, it is expected that by having more staff and more experienced staff it will lead to efficiencies elsewhere.

He said:

"The problem could be finding the right people for the roles and recruiting them but by going ahead with this investment we will see benefits."

The emergency department nursing workforce has not been formally reviewed at executive level since approximately 2014.

Since then activity within both departments has increased and the clinical footprint has also grown including changes in practice."

– Nigel Lee - Chief Operating Officer, Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust

Mr Lee said attendance at both emergency departments had risen by 21 per cent since April 2014.

"Some of this growth is associated with the introduction of a new Urgent Care Centre (UCC) Service on the Princess Royal Hospital Site," he added.

"While there is a separate medical workforce plan for the UCC, there is an associated increase demand for nursing care associated with this service as this cohort of patients still need to be streamed, triaged and supported by the A&E nursing workforce for some diagnostics.

"The proposed increase in staff numbers are required to deliver the service improvements needed.

"It should however be noted that the scale of change and the associated recruitment plan is highly ambitious, particularly for year one and there is a risk that we will not be able to fully implement year one of the plan.

"These figures have been included in the plan to allow for financial planning and to demonstrate to our staff, patients, public and regulators the scale of our ambition and our commitment to improving our services."