A NURSING union claims the Government has failed dying patients in South Tyneside who have been moved because of the demands on hospital services.
Six terminally ill people were moved from Jarrow’s Primrose Hill Hospital to South Tyneside District Hospital’s Ward 20 on Monday.
Bosses at South Tyneside NHS Trust said they needed to second the 15 members of staff to help cope with an increase in emergency admissions at the Harton Lane site for the next three months.
The decision caused upset among some of the patients’ families, including Donna Watson, whose mother Christine Watson, 87, from Thomas Bell House in Simonside, Jarrow, suffers from acute heart failure and has months to live.
Mrs Watson, 46, said: “When you’ve been told you only have months to live, you really don’t need this upheaval, especially when you have an acute heart condition.”
The Royal College of Nursing say that the situation is inevitable due to funding cuts and staffing shortages.
Jake Turnbull, a spokesman for the RCN, said: “South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust has been experiencing extreme staffing pressures right across the trust for some time, and this is one of the consequences of this staffing crisis.
“But ultimately, it is a failure of central government to plan for the increasing demands that the NHS is now experiencing, week in, week out, throughout the year. Understandably, this move is extremely upsetting for patients and their relatives.
“The RCN has repeatedly warned for the last few years that we are simply not training or recruiting enough nurses.”
Meanwhile trust bosses say the Primrose Hill patients are settling in well.
Steve Williamson, the Trust’s chief operating officer, said: “I am delighted to say that the transfer on Monday of six patients from Primrose Hill Hospital in Jarrow to our newly-opened additional winter pressures ward at South Tyneside District Hospital was completed with smoothness and efficiency.
“We expect this arrangement to continue for the next three months. We would like to say a big thank you to all staff involved in enabling us to open this additional ward at a time of such tremendous, challenging pressure.”