Hospital to recruit more midwives amid claims staff are 'exhausted'

The accident took place outside West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Midwives at West Suffolk Hospital have said they are becoming 'exhausted' because of the long working hours - Credit: Archant

More midwives are to be recruited at West Suffolk Hospital to deal with staffing problems - after a letter claimed workers were "exhausted" and "broken".

A whistleblower at the Bury St Edmunds hospital vented frustration at working conditions, claiming to be doing long hours without "meaningful" breaks.

A letter by a whistleblower sent to the health regulator the Care Quality Commission said: "Efforts are made on weekdays to cover us for a 30-minute lunch break but this is difficult to achieve on weekends and nights, when non-clinical staff are not present.

"The reality is they are just trying to deplete shifts that are already short-staffed to cover the shifts that are very, very short staffed.

"However, due to the atmosphere at work being so unpleasant and morale being so low, our goodwill is rapidly running out.

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“As a result staff do not feel valued or appreciated.

“Their expectations of what is considered ‘acceptable’ staffing levels have been lowered so much that it is consistently unsafe and unacceptable."

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The midwives noted that staffing levels are a nationwide problem and should be addressed at the highest level.

Leaders at the hospital have said they are doing all they can to help by hiring more midwives and senior midwives.

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust head of midwifery Karen Newbury said: "We are working exceptionally hard to recruit additional midwives and we are very grateful for the flexibility and dedication of our staff in ensuring that we provide a safe and caring service - this was recognised by our Care Quality Commission inspection in April which found we managed safety well.

"We have recently completed recruitment so there will be at least two senior midwives on every shift to provide flexible and experienced support to our maternity teams.

"We are working with colleagues regionally to recruit staff both locally and internationally as well as running a full student training programme."

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