278 nurses leave East Lancashire Hospitals in last two years

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NEARLY 300 nursing staff have left East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust in the last two years.

The shocking figures were revealed by the Trust in response to a Burnley Express request after the Trust announced it had recruited 30 new nursing staff.

We can reveal 278 nurses have left in the last two years, although the Trust stressed none had been made redundant.

Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle, who has campaigned for services to be brought back to Burnley General Hospital, said the loss of medical staff was unacceptable.

He said: “To lose that amount of nursing staff in just two years is ridiculous. Nurses, and certainly experienced ones which many of these would have been, are critical to the health care of people in a hospital. You cannot replace nurses with technology.

“I accept these nurses have either retired or left of their own volition but there should be a natural cycle and they should all have been replaced.”

Mr Birtwistle said issues with the Royal Blackburn Hospital continue to make up “the vast majority” of his postbag from constituents. He added he would be keeping a close eye on an investigation into the Trust’s death rates announced recently.

The under-fire Trust is one of five to be probed following the publication of the inquiry into mistreatment and neglect of patients at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.

Bosses at Burnley General and the Royal Blackburn Hospitals, which were rated among the fifth worst in the country for patient mortality rates, said they welcomed the investigation by NHS Commissioning Board medical director Prof. Sir Bruce Keogh.

Mr Mark Brearley, chief executive at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, had said patient safety was the Trust’s top priority and stressed the mortality figures, which do not take into account levels of deprivation, should not be taken in isolation.

Speaking this week, bosses said the recruitment of the registered and qualified staff nurses have been given “a boost”.

The new recruits will add to the Trust’s 3,340-strong nursing staff, and will work across all areas and hospitals and be used to replace bank and agency nurses, fill existing vacancies and help staff additional capacity.

Lynn Wissett, Chief Nurse at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “I would like to welcome the new nurses to the Trust and congratulate them on becoming newly qualified. They have shown enormous commitment, application and dedication in their studies to pass their final exams and they will be an asset to the Trust.”