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Queen Elizabeth University Hospital facing winter ‘staffing crisis’ warns Labour

Scottish Labour has called on the SNP Government to take urgent action to fill staffing gaps throughout Scotland’s largest hospital.

The flagship Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, which has been struck by repeated issues since opening, is already under severe strain with elective surgery cancelled or postponed, a shortage of acute beds, and the A&E unit struggling to meet waiting time targets.

Figures obtained by Labour show that covid-related absences have risen sharply at the Queen Elizabeth, with the daily average number of staff absent due to coronavirus as high as 56 in the week commencing August 26 – more than double the number nine weeks prior.

The data also shows that nursing and midwifery services have been particularly badly hit, with 57% of covid absences at the hospital related to these staff groups since July 1.

Jackie Baillie is calling on the SNP government to wake up to the staffing crisis at the hospital and act to fill staffing gaps.

The Scottish Labour health spokeswoman said: “It is clear that the Scotland’s flagship hospital is in the midst of a staffing crisis.

“With operations being cancelled and the Red Cross being drafted in to assist at the hospital, it is clear that lives are at risk if action is not taken now.

“That over half of Covid-19 absences are in nursing and midwifery services is both shocking and dangerous.

“This simply cannot continue.

“If action is not taken now to plug these huge gaps in staffing the situation at the hospital will only deteriorate further.”

The hospital was earlier this year blasted for “significant failings” over infection prevention and control, governance and risk management, according to a new report.

A review led by Professor Mike Stevens investigated 118 episodes of serious bacterial infection in 84 children and young people who received treatment for blood disease, cancer or related conditions at the Royal Hospital for Children.

It found a third of these infections were “most likely” to have been linked to the hospital environment and that two of the 22 deaths were, at least in part, the result of their infection.

A separate inquiry is now underway to look at how youngsters contracted a potentially deadly infection in hospital.

The inquiry is investigating the construction of the QEUH campus after issues at the flagship site were linked to the deaths of two children.

It is also examining the construction of the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People and Department of Clinical Neurosciences in Edinburgh.

The inquiry was ordered after patients at the Glasgow hospital died from infections linked to pigeon droppings and the water supply, and the opening of the Edinburgh site was delayed due to concerns over the ventilation system.

The Record has asked the Scottish Government for comment.

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