Nurse talks of A&E staffing crisis at Southend Hospital

An A&E nurse says she felt compelled to walk away from Southend Hospital because a staffing crisis meant she was unable to give patients the care they needed.

The senior nurse, who wishes to remain anonymous, claims there has been a mass exodus across the hospital’s A&E department, with 14 nurses and six doctors resigning in the last three months.

The nurse, who has been working in the profession for 20 years, said: “It is dreadful.

“People are going every day, nurses, healthcare supporter workers, people have just had enough.

“We are not able to give the care we should be giving.

“People are sitting on ambulance up to eight hours, even 12 hours

“We can’t ventilate them on an ambulance.”

She added: “I feel so guilty that I can’t do what I want to do for patients – I had to resign.

“I can’t do my job any more.

“We know who we have got waiting and I have had to say we need to make a space for this patient because if we leave them waiting any longer they are going to die in the back of an ambulance.”

The issue of ambulances queueing outside Southend’s A&E has been highlighted on a number of occasions in recent weeks, with Southend West MP Anna Firth holding crunch talks with Health Secretary Sajid Javid about the issue.

A £1.2 million two-storey outpatients’ building was recently unveiled at the hospital, designed to reduce A&E waiting times by reducing the amount of ‘bed-blocking’.

The Save Southend NHS campaign group said: “Medical staff at Southend Hospital’s A&E say the department is falling apart and the lack of staff is making it unsafe to work.

“The doctors are getting no teaching or training so they have started to leave, and there are serious concerns for safe staffing beyond July 2022.”

A spokesman for Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Staffing levels in A&E are reviewed regularly throughout the day, to ensure that patients are receiving the best possible care.

“There have been many improvements made throughout the department since the Care Quality Commission visit last year.

“Whilst there are still some challenges, such as staff recruitment, these are being addressed with clear plans in place.”

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter