Havering’s hospital trust ‘has UK’s biggest shortfall of A&E doctors, nurses and care workers’ - figures

Queen's Hospital's emergency department

Queen's Hospital's emergency department - Credit: Archant

The trust that runs Queen’s Hospital has the biggest shortfall of clinical A&E workers in the country, new figures show.

And the largest problem lies in holding onto consultants and other senior doctors, 64 per cent of whose posts were unfilled as of Friday.

Bosses at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHR), which also runs King George in Goodmayes, admit they have difficulty recruiting to the busy departments, but say agency and locum workers make up the numbers.

Figures obtained by the BBC show BHR had a 43pc shortfall in clinical staff at the start of August – more than any other trust in the UK.

Data obtained by the Recorder put that figure at 33pc as of Friday – still 1pc ahead of Croydon’s 32pc vacancy, in second place.

Chief executive Averil Dongworth said the trust was “working hard” to recruit more permanent staff, and that “dedicated work” had seen the shortfall drop from 45pc to 30pc in recent months.

She added there was a national shortage of A&E consultants, and pointed to Queen’s Hospital’s emergency unit being among Britain’s busiest.

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With King George’s casualty unit set to close in 2015, pressure on Queen’s is likely to increase over the next two years.

“With A&E consultants largely able to pick and choose their employer,” said Ms Dongworth, “it can be difficult to attract permanent staff.”

A trust spokesman added BHR salaries only attract “outer London” weighting, meaning its vacancies are less attractive than those further into the capital.

“We are exploring a range of options to boost recruitment including advertising five new joint consultant posts in partnership with Barts Health,” said Ms Dongworth.

“All A&E shifts are fully staffed, using locum and agency cover as necessary, so patients receive safe, high quality care.”

A CQC report in January 2012 concluded there weren’t enough consultant or junior doctors in the Romford hospital’s rammed emergency unit.

The department, which receives up to 150 ambulances a day, was ranked as London’s slowest in June. A CQC report the following month found patients languishing there for up to 14 hours before being transferred.