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Byline: Report by Dominic Robertson

HEALTH officials were today expected to back a huge increase in nursing staff as part of a three-year plan to improve the A&E departments at the county's major hospitals.

The board of Shrewsbury & Telford Hospitals NHS Trust (Sath) was being recommended to almost double the number of full-time nurses at its two A&E departments - at Princess Royal Hospital Telford and Royal Shrewsbury Hospital - from 78 to 149 by 2021/22.

If approved the plan will also see a move to employing more senior level nurses.

The action is being recommended to address significant problems in the trust's emergency departments, which saw the health watchdog, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), describe the performance as "inadequate" after its most recent inspection.

Both hospitals' A&E departments have also been listed amongst the regularly worst performing in the country, with the paper being considered by the board also outlining how "crowding in the department is an issue".

It adds that the "departments are often unable to open/ effectively run new processes due to staffing shortages". Other board papers have revealed that the trust's performance on A&E performance targets have fallen again, with only 68.3 per cent of patients being admitted, transferred or discharged, within four hours of arrival.

The report on the nursing proposal says that the trust is setting its sights high with the plan.

It states: "The proposed increase in staff numbers are required to deliver the service improvements needed. It should however be noted that the scale of change and the associated recruitment plan is highly ambitious, particularly for year one and there is a risk that we will not be able to fully implement year one of the plan."

The report outlines that the plan would have significant benefits for future recruitment at the hospital, which has struggled and been faced with large agency costs for short term workers.

The costs of the proposal would be PS6.5m for year one, PS7.3m for year two, and PS6.7m for year three. That is a significant increase on the costs of doing nothing, which would be PS5.1m, PS5.1m, and PS4m over the same time-frame.

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Publication:Shropshire Star (Shropshire, England)
Date:May 30, 2019
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