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Staffing shortage hits local hospital

Admissions to ward temporarily suspended

John Garvey


01635 886628

West Berkshire Community Hospital Newbury

ADMISSIONS to a number of beds had to be suspended owing to staff shortages at West Berkshire Community Hospital.

The alarm was raised by one nurse, who blamed poor wages and the high cost of living in West Berkshire for the struggle to attract qualified staff.

The nurse, who the NWN has agreed not to identify, said: “The hospital has had to close half of Highclere Ward this week.

“This is due to a shortage of nurses and staff sickness.

The nurse, who said staff had been sworn to secrecy about the situation, added: “We have one member of staff who can’t afford to have her car fixed and is having to get lifts into work.

“She is looking for another job outside nursing.

“It would be nice if our local MP supported the nurses a bit more, as he has always voted against a pay rise in line with a high cost of living area like ours.

“I found a payslip from five years ago and I earn less now due to changes in the pension and NI [National Insurance].

“If the lovely people of Newbury and Thatcham want a local hospital, they need to lobby their MP or the wonderful new unit being built for our cancer and renal patients will have no staff to run it.”

In fact, according to trustees of The Rosemary Appeal, the new Greenham Unit for cancer and renal patients will be unaffected, as it will be resourced and staffed completely separately to the main hospital.

A spokeswoman for the Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Jade O’Connor, acknowledged the staffing problem and said: “Every day, management at West Berkshire Community Hospital assesses the number of nursing staff available to manage our wards safely for the number of patients we have in our inpatient wards.

“Unfortunately, due to these safe staffing levels, we have had to temporarily suspend admissions to a proportion of beds on Highclere Ward in October.”

She added: “There is a significant national issue around the shortage of qualified nursing staff and we are actively recruiting to the vacancies we have.

“We are using temporary staffing solutions during this process to ensure we maintain the appropriate level of safety and quality care to our patients.”

Highclere Ward is described as a “physical health inpatient ward for people who need rehabilitation following illness, injury or surgery” which also caters for people at the end of their life.

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Article comments

  • Suelu

    01/11/2017 - 13:01

    What planet does Newburylad31 live on? Under the last labour government they managed to virtually abolish waiting lists for operations/treatment due to the funding they invested into our NHS. .....few years back down the line under the conservatives we are back to virtual starvation and a badly managed NHS which is a historical trend under any conservative government. They are currently raping the NHS as they are our state schools by selling their land and cutting back their funding. Just take a look at the conservative MP's and look at the majority of their backgrounds.....privately educated private healthcare, why should they care about the rest of us, brilliant example of our local MP who is one of the richest individuals in the land charging astronomical rents to those who cannot afford to own their own homes...says it all in my book!


  • Justin S

    31/10/2017 - 08:08

    Lobbying your MP for this area would yield nothing. He's feeding pheasants now ready to shoot them. Having a slightly better memory than some, its always been the same with the NHS , whatever government were in power for as long as I can remember. As to an answer to resolving this , I believe this has been a life long issue , not just happening today. We have always had hospitals closing , wards closed and lack of financial support .


  • Ihavenonickname

    30/10/2017 - 18:06

    Is it hurting you enough to boot outhe the Tories yet West Berkshire? No, I doubt it as many of you don't know/care about public sector workers who've not had a pay rise for years in the name of 'austarity'! Just keep paying your Bupa contributions and school fees and don't worry about the rest of us mere mortals!


    • NewburyLad

      31/10/2017 - 13:01

      Nope because in the grand scheme of things, having the terrorist loving communist Corbyn in power, where he intends to crash the economy and flood the country with uncontrolled and non-contributing third world immigration, thus turning the UK into a 3rd world country, is the worst possible nightmare facing this country. Normal, sensible, intelligent and educated people look at the WHOLE picture and weigh up ALL the issues facing us, unlike the likes of those who set up stupid facebook pages saying "don't vote" and who never tell us how much more would they be prepared to pay in taxes or what services would they reduce so that the overused NHS can get more money to waste.


      • EugeneStryker

        31/10/2017 - 19:07

        You are a classic example of the backfire effect.


  • EugeneStryker

    30/10/2017 - 11:11

    Austerity and Tory government policy arrives in Newbury. Tory austerity is based on a paper that argued that countries' economies with a debt ratio of more than 90% shrink by 0.1%. The excel spreadsheet had a mistake and in fact economies should have grow by 2.2% (slower than countries with less debt, but not a collapse). Instead of correcting their trajectory, the Tories continue to run down our public services and assets because they hate the public sector and want to hand it all over to their mates in private enterprise having been lobbied by their PR companies. Benyon doesn't care about nurses or what happens to us if we become unwell - having said that, Newbury will vote for him again I suspect.