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Unsafe staffing levels at 17 hospitals.

The health watchdog, the Care Quality Commission, has warned that 17 hospitals among 26 healthcare providers lack necessary staff levels to adequately care for their patients.

The CQC stated 17 hospitals, 8 mental health trusts and one ambulance service were failing to “keep people safe and meet their health and welfare needs”.

The report by the CQC highlighted dementia patients who were left unable to reach call bells, drinks or warm clothing in one hospital, another hospital put women in labour at risk because of staff shortages and midwives lacking basic skills.

Katherine Murphy, the chief executive of the Patients Association commented “It is a deeply worrying picture: these are just the parts of the hospital that the inspectors have seen and there is no reason to think it will be any safer on the wards they have not visited.”

This revelation comes just weeks before a report is due regarding 1200 avoidable patient deaths at Stafford Hospital after management implemented cost saving measures resulting in 150 job cuts.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt stated there was no excuse for inadequate staffing levels and added “Where CQC inspections find NHS and social care providers failing their legal duties to provide enough staff or appropriate care, we expect swift action be taken.”