WORKFORCE: A North West trust has had to write to acute NHS providers across the north of England to request immediate medical staffing support to maintain its services.

North Cumbria University Hospitals Trust urgently needs doctors at registrar and specialty level to fill vacancies in acute medicine services at West Cumberland Hospital and to look after emergency admissions at the site.

The gaps in the hospital’s acute medical rota which must be filled are during August.

Earlier this year staffing shortages at the hospital forced Health Education England to remove three junior doctors from the site because of concerns of a “lack of available clinical supervision”.

In response to these shortages, locum doctors were brought in by the trust in April to provide immediate support and it embarked upon a recruitment campaign to try and attract clinicians from outside the North East and Cumbria to relocate to the region.

Despite these moves the trust has so far been unable to address the shortfall, claiming a national shortage of acute care doctors had impacted its ability to recruit people.

In a statement, North Cumbria medical director Jeremy Rushmer said: “We are facing some immediate problems in terms of our acute care medical rota at West Cumberland Hospital and we want to be transparent and open with all of our stakeholders about this.

“We have today written to all chief executives in the North East and North West to request any interim support they may be able to give us in August in order to ensure continuity of care for our patients.

“The help we have requested from other hospitals is clearly not a long term solution to the medical staffing problems we face, but we are hopeful that with some support we will be able to secure the continued provision of safe services for this interim period.”