Staffing shortage could lead to children's ward closure

Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust actively trying to recruit skilled nurses from the UK and beyond

A 27-bed children’s ward may have to close at weekends due to a shortage of nursing staff, an NHS trust has confirmed.

The opening hours of the surgical ward at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are to be reviewed by the organisation on a weekly basis – with the trust actively trying to recruit more nurses.

Active recruitment

A trust spokesperson said: ‘Staffing levels remain a priority for us and we are actively working to recruit nurses with the appropriate skills. Our position regarding nurse staffing is one which is reflected nationally.

‘While we continue to recruit locally and nationally – and would urge anyone looking for a job to consider Bradford – numbers coming through to appointment remain low due to a lack of available UK-trained nurses.

‘We have expanded our recruitment drive to consider other European Union countries and last year we took our search for nurses to the Philippines, where we successfully recruited more than a decade ago.’

Patient safety

The spokesperson added that patient safety remained the trust’s ‘highest priority at all times’ and that any child admitted will be seen on the other two children’s wards at the trust if there is a weekend closure.

RCN regional director for Yorkshire and the Humber Glenn Turp said the college would be monitoring the situation: ‘This trust has made the safest decision for patients it can under the current circumstances. Pressures on staffing have reached an unsustainable level right across the NHS, but particularly in acute care settings.

‘We will be monitoring the situation at Bradford and right across the region as well as working with NHS staff and managers to help them care safely for the sick and injured people who come through their doors.

‘It is hard to understand how this staffing crisis can be ignored any longer, especially when it has reached the point where poorly children could be affected.’

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