Nursing chief insists neonatal crisis temporary

By Ian Dipple Thursday 26 June 2014 Updated: 27/06 09:42

EVERY effort will be made to maintain a full neonatal service at the Alexandra Hospital a health chief has pledged.

Lindsey Webb, chief nursing officer for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said rotas were being reviewed on a fortnightly basis to deal with the current staffing crisis.

The Standard revealed last week how births at the Woodrow Drive hospital may have to be restricted because of a lack of specialist neonatal nurses. It could mean high risk and multiple births as well as women delivering before 37 weeks would have to do so in Worcester to avoid the potential for babies needing specialist care being transferred at just a few hours old.

Ms Webb said a special task and finish group was working on the issue and they were confident shifts had been safely staffed until the end of July but the position was changeable.

"Staff have been fantastic in coming up with ideas on how to ensure we can staff those rotas safely over that period of time and the task and finish group is meeting every fortnight,” she told a board meeting on Wednesday (June 25).

"I do expect having updates on a fortnightly basis in terms of that moving position."

The situation has been caused by a combination of retirements, maternity leave and a national shortage of such nurses.

But Ms Webb said she expected the situation to ease by December when a number of staff currently upgrading their skills to the required level completed their training and others returned from maternity leave. Birmingham Children's Hospital is also providing training support.

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