WORKFORCE: The London trust is warning of a risk to patient safety in its neonatal unit due to staff shortages.

A report on the trust’s risk register said: “There is a risk to the provision of safe, high-quality neonatal service due to the frequent closures of the neonatal unit due to under capacity”.

The hospital said a recruitment drive was in place for neonatal nurses, along with “provisions to attempt to transfer expected pre-term deliveries to other hospitals”.

The report said it had made arrangements to pool specialist neonatal nurses but that a shortage of neonatal unit cots across London made transfers difficult.

The trust also recognised its inability to ensure one-to-one care for women in labour.

The risk register reported: “[A] recent Care Quality Commission survey reveals that North Middlesex had the worst survey response for midwives’ ‘kindness and understanding’ in the country, and the worst ‘satisfactory care during labour and birth’ in London.

“The trust’s caesarean section rate has also increased,” the register said.

The trust said it would use bank staff in the meantime and had a plan to recruit permanent staff from Ireland.