• Five nurses have resigned from Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust’s A&E amid “unsustainable” workforce shortages
  • At least one nurse left after raising safety concerns about the trust’s services
  • NHS Improvement directors’ plea to neighbouring providers for support was rejected 

Five nurses have resigned from an “unsustainable” A&E department in the last two months with at least one leaving after raising safety concerns.

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust confirmed the resignations and that at least one of the nurses expressed concerns about safety within the A&E as part of their exit interview.

Last month, NHS Improvement regional directors made a plea to neighbouring trusts asking them to provide Shrewsbury with clinical support for its A&E.

But none of them could help due to their own work pressures, according to papers published by Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group.

In a statement to HSJ, Simon Wright, chief executive of the trust, said: “There have been long term issues around the shortage of A&E staff, including consultants, middle grade doctors and nurses, which haven’t been resolved despite recruitment efforts.

“One nurse who recently left her position in A&E did raise concerns about safety. A&E has managed to stay open thanks to the dedication of the staff trying to cover shifts, but this is just not sustainable.”

He added the trust has made three consultant appointments, is working with universities to “explore fellowship programmes” and will have 63 new nurses and nursing associates from September.

Mr Wright also revealed the trust has carried out a risk review to look into a number of safety issues within A&E. This review is due to be presented to the board this week.

In board paper’s published this week the trust said: “Throughout June and July there have been five resignations at RSH (1 x band 6 and 4 x band 5) and two at PRH (1 x band 6 and 1 x band 5) however in September there is an expected eight new starters commencing in post. Whilst this is positive, there will be an impact upon the skill mix of the departments through losing experienced staff.” 

The report also said nurse staffing levels were a ”concern” as it meant the trust had to use meant high levels of temporary agency staff. 

According to the trust, as of August, it had four substantive consultants, four locum consultants, 10.5 substantive and five locum middle grade doctors employed in A&E. 

The trust is currently going through a consultation on the reconfiguration of its A&E, which will see the majority of emergency services move to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.

Nigel Lee, chief operating officer for Shrewsbury and Telford Trust, said: “The trust is continuing talks on the best way of keeping patients safe in the event of fragile services becoming unsustainable. These talks have been ongoing since 2015.”

Story was updated at 13:21 to reflect two additional resignations revealed in the trust’s board papers this week.