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Croydon's A&E ward has second worst staff shortage in UK

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CROYDON Health Services NHS Trust has the second worst A&E staff shortage in the country.

In July, there were 67 nurses employed by the trust directly, leaving around 42 to be hired through agencies.

Newly released figures show that, in total, the trust has a 32 per cent shortage of A&E staff - also including doctors and consultants - at Croydon University Hospital (CUH).

The practice of filling vacancies with agency staff is of huge concern to CUH nurses, according to Unison regional officer Michael Walker.

"Nurses feel like they are bearing the brunt of the Government's decreased funding to CCGs," said Mr Walker.

"A&E departments are notoriously difficult to work in and it is essential staff can work in a team. How can they do this when one in three members are from agencies and might only be there for a few days?

"Nurses are not paid well enough to be attracted to an A&E like Croydon which is under a huge amount of strain in a socially deprived area with a high number of things like knife crime injuries coming through the doors."

Mr Walker said the reliance on agency staff was becoming "endemic" in the department as well as the rest of the hospital.

"Croydon really needs to address this issue and make the A&E department an attractive place to work.

"The staff there ought to be applauded for the work they do under such conditions."

Croydon falls just behind the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust which has a 43 per cent shortage.

However, the trust in Croydon has said it has increased the number of A&E consultants and hired more permanent nurses this month.

"We are actively recruiting to secure a full complement of permanent A&E consultants and to fill nursing vacancies," said Karen Breen, deputy chief executive and chief operating officer.

"However, during times where permanent staff are not in post, suitably trained and qualified interim staff are employed to ensure the department at Croydon is staffed to meet demand.

"Patients can be reassured of an adequately staffed A&E."

She also stressed that the hospital has met and exceeded national emergency care targets, seeing almost 96 per cent of patients within four hours.

Croydon's A&E ward has second worst staff shortage in UK


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