Hospital shuts departments over staff shortages - Health News - Health & Families - The Independent

Hospital shuts departments over staff shortages

A hospital is set to shut its emergency and maternity departments because of fears over public safety due to "serious" staff shortages, officials confirmed today.

Managers at Queen Mary's Sidcup, in south-east London, said the temporary closures were necessary because there were not enough middle and junior grade doctors, or midwives, to cope during the winter months.

The move came after the NHS stepped in to commission a safety review at South London Healthcare NHS Trust.

Trust chief executive Dr Chris Streather said: ""A clinical safety review carried out by independent senior clinicians commissioned by NHS London across all of our sites, and supported by the Trust's medical and nursing directors, has concluded that there are significant safety risks, particularly in regard to a serious shortage of emergency medicine middle and junior grade doctors, and midwives.

"We can't take a risk that this situation would become unsustainable during the winter months.

"This review makes clear that this presents an unacceptable level of risk to patients and we therefore regret the need to recommend to the Trust Board a planned temporary closure of the A&E and maternity Units at Queen Mary's while the Trust attempts to redress these issues through continued recruitment efforts, and discussions with the deaneries in relation to the provision of junior clinicians.

"We have asked all of our neighbouring Trusts for assistance but none are able to provide the clinical support that is necessary."

The hospital said it planned to close A&E by the end of November and maternity "as soon as safely practical".

Staff from those units will be redeployed to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich and Princess Royal in Farnborough, according to Dr Streather.

Patients living in south east London and Kent are served by Queen Mary's.

A Department of Health spokesman said: "Patient safety and high quality care must remain the priority for the NHS.

"The A&E and obstetric services at Queen Mary's should temporarily close while there are concerns that they don't meet the high standards that patients deserve.

"The Secretary of State has pledged that, in future, all service changes must be led from the bottom up by clinicians, patients and local authorities with an improved focus on quality.

"The goal of any change to services must be to ensure patients get the best care possible, delivered to the highest standards in the most effective, efficient and personalised way."



There are 42 vacant posts for midwives, according to the Trust, although the safety review identified potential problems if this increases over the coming months.



For middle and junior grade doctors there is a 50% vacancy rate, a spokesman added.



Around 200 people a day attend the Queen Mary's accident and emergency department while there are around 2,700 births a year in the maternity unit.



Dr Streather said: "We are sorry for the inconvenience this will cause to patients and we fully appreciate the reliance and affection that people in Bexley have for these important services, but we have to have absolute confidence that we can ensure patient safety and the evidence from this review is that we can't make this guarantee.



"We will ensure that patients are fully informed about where and how they will continue to access their local services if these proposals are accepted by our board."

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Senior QA Engineer - Agile, SCRUM

    £35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...

    Marketing Executive - West Midlands - £28,000

    £26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Executive (SEO, PP...

    Retail Business Analyst

    £40000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our retail client ...

    Senior C++ Developer

    £400 - £450 Per Annum possibly more for the right candidate: Clearwater People...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week