Weston General Hospital increases patient-to-nurse ratio due to rising coronavirus patient numbers

A review of the A&E's overnight closure will take place in April.

A review of the A&E's overnight closure will take place in April. - Credit: Archant

The hospital trust which provides healthcare services at Weston General Hospital has raised its patient-to-nurse ward ratio to higher than recommended levels.

University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW) increased its nurse staffing levels to cope with the demands imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Research by The Independent revealed that the trust has introduced a new policy across its two hospitals, including Bristol Royal Infirmary.

One nurse is assigned to 10 patients on all general adult wards, up from the previous ratios of one nurse to six or eight patients, depending on the ward.

This figure rises to one nurse to 12 patients during night shifts.

The ratios are higher than those recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which says 'people are at risk of harm in wards where there is one nurse for eight or more patients'.

UHBW said the measure has been introduced temporarily due to rising Covid patient numbers and a lack of staff.

Most Read

Carolyn Mills, chief nurse at UHBW, told the Mercury: “This is not a blanket change to nurse to patient ratios in our hospital but a clinically-led decision we have taken in some areas where it is safe and appropriate to do so and to help us manage the increasing demand for our services during this global pandemic.

“These decisions are under constant review based on clinical and staffing needs on a shift-by-shift basis, while senior clinicians are also on-hand to offer wellbeing support and care to colleagues if required.”

In September, an internal investigation found a coronavirus outbreak at Weston General 'may have' led to the deaths of 18 patients earlier this year.

The hospital stopped accepting new patients on May 25 until June 18, but bosses said the inquiry did not pinpoint a single cause of the outbreak.

Asymptomatic staff and patients, staff moving between wards, the size and layout of the hospital and the number and configuration of beds were all believed to have contributed to the outbreak.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus