A group of campaigners have claimed there are “worryingly high” vacancy levels in hospital clinical and nursing staff.
The Friends of Our New Hospital Group have published a new report criticising both the vacancy rate, and an “increasing” number of health managers.
'Bulletin 14: Management of Jersey's Health System' report details the group's concerns with the staffing and management structure of the hospital...
The report says there are currently "31 vacancies (19 consultants and 12 Junior doctors) in this category. These posts have to be filled, something they say is becoming increasingly difficult.
"Until replacements can be recruited, locums are employed through agencies on short term 40-hour a week contracts at an average fee of £120 an hour for consultants and £75 per hour for junior doctors. Some locums have been here for months."
Pictured: The group said that as of July, there were 31 vacancies (19 consultants and 12 Junior doctors) in clinical roles.
Working their calculations on a 40-hour week for 52-weeks basis, they added: "This represents at least £4.1 million a year for consultant grade locums and £1.55 million for Junior Doctor grades a total of £5.65 million per year."
In response to this section, a Government spokesperson said: "At the end of July, there were 199 vacancies out of 2458 in HCS, which is a vacancy rate of 8%. This is average when compared with other jurisdictions.
"Within the last three months, 40 members of staff have left, however, there have been 59 new starters which shows the vacancy number is closing."
Pictured: Health Minister Deputy Richard Renouf said last month that the hospital's theatre suite was down 17 workers for various reasons.
Health Minister Deputy Richard Renouf said they were down 17 workers, including five people who had retired, nine who were on holiday, and one who had moved to the UK.
Last week however, the Government said that there were enough staff to return to work, with locums taken on, saying that it was normal that "each August, the operating theatre department works at a reduced capacity."
The 'Friends' report also says that friction is caused "when nursing staff and consultants see those jobs advertised at levels above their pay grade and hard-pressed medical staff pass office doors with ever more silly management job titles."
Illustrating their point, quoted a Freedom of Information response published on 19th July 2021 showing that there now are 61 managers.
They also claimed that "the vast majority of them having been recruited directly from the UK NHS."
Pictured: The 'Friends of Our New Hospital' asked why there were so many managers while clinical staff fell short.
They continued: "Meanwhile, the recruitment of a further 17 managers is underway at grades 13 and 14 to develop the Jersey Care Model. At a straight salary level this represents an annual cost of £902,000 from 2021 onwards.
"How has the Minister of Health justified this number of managers when the clinical side is so short of the deliverers of secondary healthcare in the General Hospital?
"If you include the 17 additional managers being recruited to develop the JCM, this brings the current total to 78 managers which cannot be justified by any benchmark. It therefore appears that the solution to any crisis in the hospital is to recruit another manager.
"What it does mean though is that money is being spent on managers at the direct expense of the delivery of healthcare services in the hospital.
"In short, numbers of managers have risen by 408% in the nine years up to July 2021 and that will increase to 550% with the additional managers being recruited."
However, the Government spokesperson countered claims of over-management, saying that "HCS operates a clinically and professionally led structure."
They continued: "At Tier 2 Executive level, the Chief Nurse, Medical Director and Managing Director are all from a clinical and professional background and are responsible for the delivery of safe and effective care
"At the next leadership level we have a total of 27 members of staff who are responsible for operationally running our service.
"There are also four General Managers and one Head of Non Clinical Support services.
"This equates to 27 clinicians and healthcare professionals leading operational services in HCS with the support of just five people in senior administrative posts."
Pictured: Health and Community Services say that there is strong clinical and professional leadership in the department.
They added: "HCS ensures there is strong clinical and professional leadership within the department which is the well-established goal of all health and care systems.
"The posts referenced in the Jersey Care Model (JCM) are not managerial positions for operational services as these functions are covered within the above remit.
"These new roles are to support the programme delivery of the JCM and are part of a continuous quality improvement programme."
Concluding their report, the 'Friends' group said that the "current medical and nursing staffing situation is detrimental to a well-functioning health service," and "urgently" requested the Council of Ministers commission an independent review into HCS.
"Leadership is needed as never before through our elected politicians in order to sort out the huge and unnecessary bureaucracy in HCS, focusing on filling staffing vacancies in the hospital, restoring clinical and staff morale, supporting our GPs and their patients to keep primary care affordable for all," they said.
"The management of the hospital and service delivery has never been independently inspected in recent years, if ever, as in most countries. In the UK hospital inspections are carried out by the Quality Care Commission.
"We have no similar oversight of our hospital here in Jersey.
"We submit that the situation is now so critical that the Council of Ministers needs urgently to commission an independent review of the management of HCS and the operation of the General Hospital in order to benchmark the management and delivery of Jersey’s healthcare against best practice."
Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.
Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.