Nursing shortages lead to non-urgent operations cancelled at Altnagelvin hospital

Nursing shortages have led to operations being cancelled
Seanin Graham

NON-URGENT operations remain temporarily cancelled at Altnagelvin hospital in Derry, the Western health trust has confirmed.

Emergency surgery and cancer procedures are still going ahead as well as day cases.

Nursing shortages and the outbreak of a vomiting bug have been linked to the axed inpatient operations.

A Western trust spokeswoman said the situation is being reviewed on a daily basis.

A watchdog inspection carried out at Altnagelvin hospital last summer revealed high levels of stress and "burn out" among A&E staff and warned of the impact of nursing shortages on patient care.

"Staffing levels for nursing and healthcare assistants had been agreed and additional nursing posts advertised however staffing levels were low, bank and agency staff could not always be secured to cover shifts," the Regulation and Watchdog Authority review stated.

"The delay in recruitment was impacting on staff who raised concerns over issues including; staffing levels; staff retention; staff induction; having the relevant clinical skills; workload; mandatory training; patient privacy and dignity."

The suspension comes as the waiting list crisis continue to escalate across the north's five health trusts with orthopaedic and neurology patients among thousands of cases waiting two years to see a hospital consultant for a first appointment.

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