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Cornish hospitals hit out at "inaccurate" staffing report

By EGaskarth  |  Posted: January 13, 2013

Two Cornish hospitals have criticised a report naming them amongst 17 in England with "dangerously low" staffing levels. 

The Sunday Telegraph said health watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) issued The Royal Cornwall Hospital and Bodmin Hospital with warnings after "its latest inspections."

But RCHT boss Lezli Boswell said the story was "misleading and inaccurate" because the most recent CQC inspection in November found staffing levels there to be safe.

Bodmin Hospital said the newspaper was "woefully behind developments" after their latest inspection, in September last year, found staffing levels compliant.

The Labour Party released the information to the Sunday Telegraph whilst accusing David Cameron of imposing a "toxic medicine of spending cuts and reorganisation" on the NHS.

In a statement released by RCHT, Mrs Boswell said: "This story is misleading and inaccurate following the most recent Care Quality Commission visit which confirms staffing levels at RCHT are safe.

"We received an unannounced visit from the CQC in November 2012 and they found us to be fully compliant with Outcome 13 - confirming that there are enough staff to keep patients safe and meet their health and welfare needs.

"The most recent CQC report - due to be published shortly - confirms that patients are looked after well and have confidence in the service offered. It says staff enjoy working in their departments and feel supported by colleagues and the senior management team.

"Like all NHS Trusts, RCHT experiences peaks and pressures on its services. However, patient safety will always be our first priority. We continue to both increase the number of registered nurses and midwives at RCHT and make use of our flexible workforce alongside our substantive staff to ensure consistently high quality care and to safeguard our patients at all times."

The Royal Cornwall Hospital was told to improve staffing levels last summer after an inspection found a ward where only two nurses were looking after 25 patients. 

But the Trust said the CQC attended on 20 November and visited an elderly care ward, a trauma ward, an oncology ward and the emergency department at the Royal Cornwall Hospital. 

Phillip Confue, spokesman for Bodmin Hospital said: "The Daily Telegraph are woefully behind developments.

"Following an inspection from the CQC in February last year we activated an action plan to increase the number of staff and we have been recruiting all year.

"In September the inspectors came back and in their draft report -  which we've seen - they report that we are now fully compliant and have enough staff."

The two hospitals were named on a list provided by Labour of 26 "health providers" they said were found to have inadequate staffing levels. The Sunday Telegraph said the data has never before been made public.

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