South Tyneside hospital nurses defended over care report

South Tyneside District Hospital.
South Tyneside District Hospital.

A nurses’ union says it is “disappointed” in a recent report into South Tyneside District Hospital which called for improvements to be made.

The Royal College of Nursing, which represents nurses across the UK, has spoken out in support of the staff who received an “outstanding” rating when it came to care.

There are areas of outstanding practice and staff should be proud of that.

Sarah Dodsworth

They say the report – carried out by inspectors from the Care Quality Commission into the trust which looks after the hospital –was not surprising due to the “significant pressures” placed on frontline NHS staff.

Healthcare watchdogs say they found a “lack of capacity” in the intensive care unit and, despite a recent increase in nursing staff, there were not enough doctors and, on some wards, the number of nurses was “below safe levels.”

Sarah Dodsworth, regional director of RCN Northern, said: “It is disappointing that the CQC has found South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust to be requiring improvement but the areas requiring significant progress are unsurprising when you take into account the significant pressures frontline NHS staff are facing on a day-to-day basis.

“There are areas of outstanding practice in the trust and its staff should be absolutely proud that the inspection has highlighted that the care they give is outstanding. Set against the current climate of financial pressures, stressed workforces and nursing shortages, the specific examples highlighted by the inspectors indicate that the austerity measures assigned to the NHS are having a direct impact on front line care.

“The RCN is active in South Tyneside and has already contacted the trust’s Director of Nursing to offer our support.”

In response to the report, Steve Williamson, chief executive of the trust, said yesterday: “Nearly two thirds of CQC hospital inspections across the country since the start of the new inspection process have resulted in an overall assessment of ‘requires improvement’, which does not mean that services are unsafe but CQC have identified areas where further improvements can be made.”