Dangerous staffing levels in Borders hospitals, says UNISON

UNISON has written to every politician representing the Scottish Borders to highlight “dangerous staffing levels” in local hospitals. It has been reported on the BBC TV News today. 

Staff are unable to take proper rest breaks or log serious incidents in the reporting system and working conditions are regularly in breach of regulations.

The letter was sent to: Craig Hoy MSP; Emma Harper MSP; Carol Mochan MSP; Colin Smyth MSP; Brian Whittle MSP; Martin Whitfield MSP; Sharon Dowey MSP; Christine Grahame MSP ; Rachael Hamilton MSP

“This letter and BBC article is about the NHS Borders but could be about any other health board in Scotland right now.” – Greig Kelbie, UNISON regional organiser 

thumbnail of NHS Borders – Safe Staffing Levels – MasterThe the letter says: The health and care system is under pressure to ensure services are delivered in a safe and timely manner, and the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified existing pressures on staffing and resources in all health and care settings.

The NHS has been tested to its limits, and so have many of our members. Staff in NHS Borders are reporting serious concerns to their union all underpinned by safe staffing concerns, issues include:

• Dangerous staffing levels for both patients and staff.
• Staff not receiving proper rest breaks.
• Staff not being given opportunities to report serious incidents on Datix, the NHS
electronic incident reporting system.
• Serious breaches of health and safety regulations

Greig Kelbie, UNISON’s regional organsier in the Borders, said: “This letter and BBC article is about the NHS Borders but could be about any other health board in Scotland right now. We are getting regular messages from our members to tell us about the pressure they are under – and that they can’t cope. The care system was under pressure before Covid, but the pandemic has exasperated the situation, particularly at NHS Borders.

“The NHS has been stretched to its limits and it is now at the stage where it is dangerous for patients and staff – we’re often told about serious breaches of health and safety, particularly at Borders General Hospital where there are issues with flooring and staff falling.

“We work collaboratively with NHS Borders to do what we can, but we also wanted to make politicians aware of how bad things have become. We need our politicians to step up and implement change – we want them to make sure the Health and Care Act is brought to the fore and that it protects our members.”

Read more about the issues on the BBC News Website