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Multiple whistleblowers flag ‘heartbreaking’ incidents at major trust

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Clinicians within a major teaching hospital’s cancer services have raised multiple concerns over patient safety, which they believe have resulted from badly planned service changes in response to the covid crisis.

HSJ has spoken to several staff members who have worked in the haematology speciality at University Hospitals Birmingham Foundation Trust since last June, when the services underwent significant changes to free up capacity for coronavirus patients.

This involved most haematology services at Heartlands Hospital in east Birmingham moving to the trust’s main Queen Elizabeth Hospital site in Edgbaston.

The staff, who all wished to remain anonymous, told HSJ the transfer happened at just one week’s notice and was poorly planned. Once implemented, they said QEH’s newly enlarged service suffered from extreme staffing shortages, leading to several “never events”, such as patients being given the wrong blood type.

In one resignation letter, a nurse who had transferred to QEH told managers patients’ “basic care needs are not being met”.

The nurse said most shifts were understaffed, with examples of three nurses looking after 30 patients and added in the resignation letter: “I am witnessing strong and knowledgeable colleagues breaking down on each shift.

“Furthermore, never events are happening at an alarming rate, necessary resources are commonly unavailable and communication between all levels of seniority is poor…"

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 2 February 2021

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