Harrogate nurses ‘stretched to the limit’
Nursing staff are being ‘stretched to the limit’, according to the Royal College of Nursing after an increase in patient numbers at Harrogate Hospital in December.
The union were responding to latest figures from the hospital which revealed more than 150 extra patients were admitted from their emergency department in December compared to last year.
The hospital narrowly avoided reaching the major incidents seen elsewhere in the country after admitting 970 patients in December compared to 817 the year before and 821 in 2012.
Despite the hospital avoiding a major incident, Glenn Turp, RCN’s regional director, said the pressure on nurses at Harrogate was a situation that was mirrored in hospitals across the Yorkshire region.
He said: “These figures show a ‘spike’ in patient numbers over the last year at Harrogate Hospital. This mirrors the situation in hospitals across the region, with frontline nursing staff stretched to the limit.
“UK nurses are under constant unrealistic and unsustainable pressure, struggling to deal with increasing demand and working long hours or missing breaks to ensure patients get the care.
“The chronic under resourcing of community services and social care, means more people end up in A&E who could be better treated elsewhere.”
Robert Harrison, chief operating officer at the Harrogate Hospital, this month admitted the figures showed there was a ‘considerable strain’ on services over winter.
Mr Turp blamed NHS England for not providing trusts like Harrogate District Foundation with ‘adequate funding’ to provide safe quality care to patients and a ‘safe working environment for nurses’.
“Health Education England must also get to grips with workforce planning to ensure that they commission the correct number of degree programmes for nurse education to meet future health care demand.
“Sadly, patients and hardworking staff are being let down by a system facing ‘meltdown’ and a Government burying its head in the sand.
“The NHS needs long-term investment to put an end to this crisis along with a cross party agreement to stop using the NHS as a political pawn”.