A booze cruise to Calais to find doctors and nurses – the NHS this week

By Richard Grimes

Staffing issues

  • Nurse recruitment and retention problems at the Royal Cornwall Hospital mean that in May more than 50 Filipino nurses will start work at the hospital in May and another 20 will start before that end of July. They follow 12 nurses from European countries who have joined the hospital in the last few months.
  • Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust are calling on the next Mayor of London to fix the city’s “spiralling” housing costs to prevent 4 in 10 nurses from leaving.
  • In Stoke-on-Trent a report shows that practices are struggling to recruit GPs, with 25 positions currently vacant. These figures are exacerbated by the age demographic of GPs: the figures show that 45 percent of GPs in the area are over the age of 50 and one in ten are over 65.
  • Medway Clinical Commissioning Group reports that 10,000 people are waiting more than 18 weeks for treatment due to capacity issues. The CCG suggest that doctors and nurses from Calais Hospital could be deployed locally to meet the shortfall in clinical staff.

Waiting times

In December last year more than one in ten ambulances at Southport Hospital waited more than an hour to hand over patients to the hospital.

March was described as an “extremely difficult month” for Shropshire’s hospitals. The hospital trust achieved just 78.7 percent against the national target of 95 percent for waits below four hours at A&E.

Dorset County Hospital has said that its A&E department is working at “maximum capacity”, but just 91 percent of people are seen within four hours.

Closures and cuts

A proposal has been made to turn Molesey Community Hospital in Surrey into a GP practice in an attempt to save the hospital from closure.

Eleven London MPs have signed a letter to the National Audit Office questioning the closure of A&E departments in the city.

The proposal to close the A&E department at North Devon District Hospital has been described as a “terrifying prospect” by Barnstaple Town Council.

South Tyneside Hospital says it will cut 27 jobs as part of a restructuring process.

A respite centre for children with complex health needs in Hereford has been given a 12 month reprieve from closure. Herefordshire County Council says it will use alternative respite methods, including community fostering, but the father of one patient responded “the council is so hell-bent on the fostering service idea that they have lost sight of everything else”.


  • Dozens of people demonstrated in King’s Lynn against commissioners’ decision to close the local mental health unit, the Femoy unit, to new admissions. Although the unit has since reopened, protestors fear it is still under threat.
  • Patients in Barnsley are boycotting two GP practices after the CCG brought in a new provider. Patients say that since Barnsley Healthcare Federation took over the practices the only GPs available are locum doctors.
  • More than 200 campaigners protested outside Chorley Hospital against the closure of the hospital’s A&E. It has since come to light that Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust placed staffing its A&Es on its “risk register” in 2010.
  • Campaigners in Cumbria are protesting against the “success regime” imposed on the area that could see services lost from the West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven. Meanwhile, the governors of the Cumbria Partnership Foundation Trust, which runs the community hospitals in the area, have written an open letter accusing the success regime of “lacking logic, transparency, financial evidence and vital detail”.
  • Campaigners in South Warwickshire are claiming victory after the local CCG shelved plans to put community health services out to competitive tender, potentially privatising the service.
  • An action group in Chipping Norton have called for the suspension of the contract to run the town’s community hospital. The contract was awarded two years ago to a private company, Orders of St John Trust, but since then the hospital has hit a financial crisis, and a recruitment problem has resulted in the hospital refusing new referrals. The Chipping Norton Hospital Action Group say that Oxfordshire County Council did not carry out an adequate consultation leading up to awarding the contract.
  • Campaigners in Fleetwood are becoming “increasingly frustrated” about the future of 20 rehabilitation beds in the town. Two years ago the local CCG decided to close the beds in the NHS-run Fleetwood Hospital and move the beds to a local facility run by the private company Assura. Doubts over the future of the beds has put pressure on Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
  • Protestors marched through Huntingdon in protest at proposals to merge Hinchingbrooke Hospital Trust with neighbouring Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals Trust.
  • A petition has been launched against a proposal to downgrade maternity services, A&E and paediatrics at the Pilgrim Hospital in Boston.
  • The MP for Darlington, Jenny Chapman, has demanded a “clear statement” over the future of A&E, intensive care and maternity services at Darlington Memorial Hospital.
  • County councillors have launched a campaign to save Accrington’s walk-in centre. East Lancashire CCG intends to replace the walk-in centre with a “health hub”.


The Chair of Birmingham Women’s Hospital has resigned following an investigation into the £3.4m deficit predicted for the most recent financial year.

The hospital trust in Leicester is facing a deficit of £32m and is predicting that even with a cost improvement plan to save £35m by next March, the trust is unlikely to balance the books until the 2019/20 financial year or the year after.

2 thoughts on “A booze cruise to Calais to find doctors and nurses – the NHS this week

  1. After the appalling and dismissive treatment of the junior doctors by Mr.Hunt, at least there has one positive aspect to the strike. The relentless secret privatisation of the NHS, has been placed front and centre in the awareness of the British people. No-one but the government and the profit-hungry healthcare companies want the NHS privatised. Every survey shows mass support to retain our NHS in public hands, with free healthcare based on need, not ability to pay.
    Our NHS is one of the proudest creations of this country, a star of the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, and something we need to fight for, alongside the wonderful medical staff that provide it.


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