THE LAW of unintended consequences explains, in part, why hospitals across Yorkshire will be so short-staffed this Easter.
After ordering NHS trusts to cut the amount of money spent on temporary ‘locum’ staff in order to balance their books, there’s now a shortage of doctors and nurses prepared to work these shifts for significantly reduced pay.
Their stance is understandable – why should they offer their professional expertise for next to nothing because of the failure of successive governments to recognise the extent to which the NHS is running pretty much on goodwill alone.
Dr Cliff Mann, the head of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, is not the only person to highlight this concern. A quite harrowing debate in Parliament on Monday night saw Dewsbury MP Paula Sheriff reveal the possibility of a repeat of the Mid Staffs scandal if staffing shortages were not tackled by Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust.
She disclosed a conversation with the trust’s chief executive, Stephen Eames, in which he revealed that the organisation has been in “crisis mode” for 14 months.
For, while an additional 120 beds have been provided at hospitals in Dewsbury, Wakefield and Pontefract, Ms Sherriff says the “100 extra staff who should have accompanied that expansion are nowhere to be seen”, hence the appalling cases of neglect which she highlighted.
This is the context to an invidious situation whereby medical staff will have to take short cuts, and make uncomfortable compromises, just to provide their patients with a modicum of care.