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Ongoing NHS staff problems threaten patient safety

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The ongoing NHS staff problems threaten patient safety, and the government need to act to avoid unnecessary litigation.

In an ideal world, we would have next to no need for victims of medical negligence to make claims for personal injury compensation. This can be achieved through a well-resourced and efficiently functioning national health service. But as we continue to see NHS staff problems to the point where it’s being seen as a “national emergency”, we’re likely going to see higher volumes of claims.

It really is a vicious cycle that needs to be stopped.

The extent of NHS staff problems

The extent of the NHS staff problems, according to recent figures from regulators, are a real concern.

The figures say for the period of April to June this year showed:

  • Almost 12% of nurse posts vacant;
  • Over 9% of doctor posts vacant;
  • An overall figure in terms of vacancies of 9.2%.

This equates to a shortage of nearly 108,000 staff. With increasing demands on health services, worsening financial pressures and the worsening staff shortages, something has to give.

What makes the issue worse is that the NHS staff problems is leading to an increased reliance on temporary staff. Typically speaking, temporary and agency staff are more expensive then a post being permanently filled. This doesn’t help the financial situation, nor does it help for greater quality of care.

NHS staff problems close to a “national emergency”

Some experts say that the extent of the NHS staff problems means we’re close to a “national emergency”.

The shortages of staff mean targets are being missed. These include the vital Accident and Emergency waiting times that can mean the difference between life and death.

We have to acknowledge the fact that we have a huge amount of very hardworking staff in the NHS, and this isn’t their fault. But they need far greater resources and far greater support.

The consequence of these NHS staff problems means more people suffering problems that lead to negligence. Victims of medical negligence must claim in order to recover for the health and financial damage they suffer. A more preventative approach must be taken to avoid the need for legal action.

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