A senior nurse at the Princess Royal said she is ‘very concerned’ about patient safety due to ‘staff shortages’ at the hospital.
The nurse, who wished to remain anonymous, said the trust has capped on the number of agency staff used on each shift.
The Princess Royal Hospital, in Haywards Heath, is run by Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust.
Speaking to the Mid Sussex Times, the nurse said: “I work in the Princess Royal and am very concerned over our patient safety. The hospital has introduced a cap on agency staff to try and stop our overspend.
“There will be a cap on a maximum of three agency staff on a day shift and three in a night.
“Managers will not put shifts out to agency and pressure is being put on us to cover with substantive staff however we can.
“This is not enough to cover all the nurses that are needed.
“We believe patient care will be compromised. At the weekend on a night the site was 11 trained nurses short.
“Frontline services will be affected.”
She said training is also being cancelled to ‘cover the shortfall of staff’, adding this was ‘alright in the short term’ expressed concern the nurses are missing out on vital training.
Agency staff are more expensive than using trust nurses and bank staff – who are a reserve of trust staff willing to take on extra shifts.
A spokesman for Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust said: “Every Trust in the country has been asked to reduce the amount they spend on agency staff to ensure they are getting the best value from tax payers’ money.
“To ensure we have appropriate numbers of staff on duty, we have invested significantly on increasing our substantive workforce over the last year and now have the most number of nurses working at the Trust that we have ever had.
Since December of last year, over 300 trained nurses from the local area and the rest of the UK have started with us, with a further 125 international nurses starting, and compared to this time last year we have 175 more substantive nursing and midwifery staff.”
He added ward managers and senior nurses spend a lot of time planning and covering rotas to ensure there are safe staffing levels.
“Any decisions around staffing go through a detailed assessment, in line with national best practice, to make sure they do not have a negative effect on patient care,” he said.
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