Kings Mill Hospital: Nurses in tears as 'horrendous' understaffing hits patients, says watchdog

Figures reveal 5,500 nursing posts have been cut since Coalition came into office

Nurses were reduced to tears by their workload at a Nottinghamshire hospital where understaffing contributed to patients being left hungry and dehydrated, the NHS watchdog has reported.

The Care Quality Commission demanded action over "horrendous" understaffing at the Kings Mill Hospital in Sutton-in-Ashfield.

Their report came as new figures revealed that 5,500 nursing posts have now been cut since the Coalition came into office, increasing pressure on the health secretary Jeremy Hunt to act on repeated warnings over under-staffing.

Frontline staff at Kings Mill Hospital, part of the Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, told CQC inspectors that they were concerned low numbers of nurses and poor senior doctor cover were harming patient safety. One staff member said: "We cannot go on, it's terrible, nurses are crying because it's so bad on here."  

Andy Burnham, the Labour shadow health secretary, who this week committed his party to "safe staffing levels" at all hospitals, said the report "echoes concerns at the majority of NHS hospitals."

The trust is already in special measures and was one of the 14 inspected by Sir Bruce Keogh's team, which investigated hospitals with high mortality rates earlier this year. Sir Bruce's report, which reported "significant concerns" over staffing levels at Kings Mill and several other hospitals, was followed by further CQC inspections in July.

Reporting this week, the watchdog said the trust was failing on all but three of eight national standards for quality and safety. Patients' nutritional needs were often not met and one patient's diet risk assessment went unchanged despite the fact they had not eaten for two days. Inspectors also uncovered several examples of patients' fluid intake not being properly monitored. 

Although many patients reported that they trusted staff and received good care, inspectors said that the hospital did not have "enough qualified, skilled and experienced staff to meet people's needs." One patient said that staffing levels were "abysmal" and a member of said the situation could be "horrendous at times".

The hospital's elderly care ward fell well below national guidelines on safe nurse to patient ratios. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) says that one nurse to seven patients is the minimum safe level on wards for older people, but inspectors found Kings Mill operating with one nurse for eight patients during the day and one nurse for 12 at night.

The Trust said it was now "actively recruiting nursing and medical staff" and was re-training staff across the trust in fluid management for patients.

Job cuts and increasing workloads have plunged the nursing profession into one of its worst crises in recent times, with growing concerns over patient safety. An RCN report published on Monday is expected to reveal the unprecedented strain that excessive workloads are placing on care staff.

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN said: "When staffing levels are low, patient care and safety can be compromised. This has been endorsed by Sir Bruce Keogh's recent report, which found that the common denominator of the 14 Trusts he looked at was low staffing levels, particularly when combined with staff of the wrong grades and an over-reliance on unqualified and agency staff.

Mr Hunt has so far resisted calls to introduce minimum staffing levels, but has acknowledged that some hospitals are not adequately staffing their wards. He has backed a recent review which recommended that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) should determine "a national formula" for minimum safe staffing levels.

However, Mr Burnham said that the Government was ignoring warnings over under-staffing. "As the winter approaches, David Cameron must ensure hospitals have enough staff to cope," he said.

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
Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

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

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    IT Project Manager

    Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

    Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

    £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

    Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

    £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

    IT Manager

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

    Day In a Page

    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

    'You need me, I don’t need you'

    Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
    How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

    How to Get Away with Murder

    Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
    A cup of tea is every worker's right

    Hard to swallow

    Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Which animals are nearly extinct?

    Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
    12 best children's shoes

    Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

    Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
    Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

    Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

    Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
    Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

    Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

    Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

    Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

    UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London