WORKFORCE: One in five shifts at West Suffolk Foundation Trust did not have enough nurses during January, trust board papers show.

That month 79 per cent of shifts – 1,179 out of 1,440 – were staffed with the agreed number of nursing staff or more.

The trust aims for a nurse to patient ratio of at least 1:8 during the day and 1:11 at night, but in January only two out of 16 wards achieved this for 70-80 per cent of shifts.

Deputy chief nurse Sam Bower said: “Changes to roster templates have been agreed and improvement in ratios expected during quarter three [of 2014-15] have been delayed due to recruitment difficulties.

“Those wards that are not achieving these levels on a routine basis are looked at on a shift by shift basis and are prioritised through the allocation of temporary staff so that safe levels are achieved.”