The BBC has today reported on findings by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) that staff shortages at North Devon District Hospital are putting patients’ safety at risk.

They report that the CQC has downgraded the hospital’s rating for medical care services from good to “requires improvement” after an inspection in July.

Cath Campbell, the CQC’s head of hospital inspection is reported as saying they “found a high number of vacancies with a reliance on agency staff and not addressing issues around the availability and responsiveness of medical staff for deteriorating patients. This put patients at risk of harm”.

She added: “Although nursing staff were quick to identify and act when they spotted patients who were at risk of deteriorating, medical staff did not always attend to those patients quickly. We saw two patients waiting an hour or more for the doctor to assess them and administer appropriate treatment”.

These findings are particularly concerning for the residence of North Devon as we move from the summer into an unprecedented winter of pressure on the NHS.

Whilst we remain grateful to NHS staff, additional funding has been made available to meet many of these challenges and it is disappointing that our local hospital is not in a better position. For further details and to see the BBC news story please click here