Across the UK, there is a severe shortage of healthcare staff. It is becoming more difficult to make sure that we have enough doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff to provide a 24 hours a day, seven days a week service at both Epsom and St Helier hospitals. Although a similar picture can be seen across the country, this problem has a greater impact on Epsom and St Helier hospitals as we have two hospitals that currently provide many of the same services.
We are finding it harder to recruit and retain staff, particularly within our Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments and acute care services. The Royal College Guidance states we need 24 consultant doctors to run two A&E departments and currently we only have 14 permanently employed consultants in post.
Staff shortages have meant that our doctors have had to be on-call more often or work extra hours across two hospital sites in order to keep patients safe. We have also had to recruit temporary staff that are not as familiar with our hospitals and have therefore needed additional support.