Questions over QA’s ability to staff theatres

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CONCERNS have been raised if Queen Alexandra Hospital will have enough staff to run two extra operating theatres.

As previously reported in The News, the Cosham hospital was granted a share of £17m by the Department for Health and Social Care to build the new theatres.

The expansion will take its number up from 27 to 29.

But during its latest trust board meeting, a member of the public asked if the hospital has enough staff to man the additional theatres.

In reply, chief executive Mark Cubbon did admit staff were having to fill in the gaps of vacant positions.

He said: ‘We have been asking staff to work extra shifts at the moment for patients to be seen and treated.

‘It will be some time before we have sufficient theatre capacity and workforce capacity.

‘It is really important for us to get more theatres and to recruit staff to man these.

‘We need to make sure we have got capacity but we need to also make sure we are committed to being available to perform operations six days a week and into the evenings where it’s appropriate to do so.’

QA Hospital announced at the end of last month that it had been successful in its bid for the additional government funding.

A total of £17.5m was given to the Solent Acute Alliance which oversees the county’s hospitals and health sites. It will be split between Portsmouth and Southampton.

Now the funding has been given, QA will start finalising its plans with the hopes of starting work on-site within six months.

It is aiming to have the new theatres ready in a year.

During the trust board meeting, Mr Cubbon said members of the board had met with the area’s MPs in Westminster who had backed their bid for the cash.

He said they will continue to meet regularly with the politicians.

‘We had a very constructive conversation with the MPs just before the cash announcement was made,’ Mr Cubbon said.

‘We spoke about improvements and system changes we have made over the past year.

‘There is a great deal of support for us and they clearly want to see some sustained changes.

‘We have regular dialogue planned to show improvements in due course.’