Beds at Spalding’s community hospital have been closed due to a staffing crisis.
Concern about the long-term future of the 32-bed Welland Ward at Johnson Community Hospital was raised by an anonymous whistleblower, believed to be a member of staff.
It comes in a week the Government announced that from next year hospitals are to be made to publish monthly details of whether they have enough nurses on their wards.
The Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust (LCHS) reacted by pledging its commitment to the “long-term” operation of the Welland Ward, but the Royal College of Nurses (RCN) trade union has confirmed it is aware of “staffing issues and is supporting members”.
In the type-written note to the Spalding Guardian, the whistleblower said: “Half the beds in the Welland Ward are currently closed because there is a staff crisis.
“Our senior managers and nurses have left and a bullying culture has arisen.
“Newly-qualified nurses cannot be attracted and there is doubt as to the long-term future of the ward.”
A RCN spokesman said a national staffing crisis had occurred as a result of NHS cuts that reduced the numbers of student nurses and hospitals, including Boston’s Pilgrim, were looking to recruit from Spain and Portugal.
He said: “As the professional trade union for nursing, we are aware of the reported staffing issues at the Johnson Community Hospital and we are supporting members who have contacted us with concerns.
“However, it’s important that any concerns staff have about staffing levels and any impact on patient care are also raised with their manager.”
Deputy chief nurse Lisa Green at the LCHS said the number of beds in the Welland Ward had been reduced to ensure patient safety.
She said: “We have undertaken a comprehensive review of staffing establishments to ensure appropriate nurse staffing ratios.
“In order to ensure patient safety we have a reduced number of beds open currently.
“Recruitment is ongoing and we are confident of being able to appoint to the posts and reopen closed beds.
“We have an action plan in place to address the current shortfall, an element of which has been the deployment of senior experienced nurses into the ward area.
“We are monitoring quality standards on the ward continuously to ensure our patients are well cared for and satisfied with standards of care.
“We were surprised to hear concerns of bullying in the ward given the level of support and development provided to staff.
“There have been no concerns raised internally relating to bullying.
“We take any concerns relating to care and safety very seriously and remain committed to the full, long-term operation of Welland Ward.”
Other hospitals that serve South Holland are also looking to recruit more nurses.
Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is holding two recruitment events on Thursday, November 28, and Monday, December 9 to offer qualified nurses the opportunity to work at Peterborough City.
Boston Pilgrim Hospital, which has been in special measures over staffing and care since last month, is looking to recruit from Spain, Portugal and Greece.