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The County You Live, Work And Play

Wishaw General Whistleblowers


29/10/14










“This sparked a massive outrage and an independent review of neonatal services was ordered by NHS Lanarkshire.”


Staff at Wishaw General Hospital's maternity unit fear another baby could die if bosses don't employ more staff

Whistleblowers said they are overloaded and under too much pressure on a daily basis.

Anxious staff claimed a new crisis at Wishaw General Hospital’s maternity unit could lead to another tragic baby death.

Distraught and frustrated medical staff contacted The Wishaw Press claiming a shortage of midwives and overcrowding in the wards could result in another death.


“Staff are being told to discharge patients early to make space for other mums and babies.”


A whistleblower spoke out eight months after staff at the maternity unit revealed two infants had died of blood poisoning within weeks of each other.

This sparked a massive outrage and an independent review of neonatal services was ordered by NHS Lanarkshire.

Now sources are concerned that staff are being taken away from maternity and post delivery wards to cover the neo-natal unit and this could lead to another tragedy.


“Staff say they are overloaded and under too much pressure.”


A NHS insider told the Wishaw Press: “Ever since the death of the babies in the neonatal unit, staff are being taken from the maternity unit and post delivery wards to cover shifts to prevent another disaster from occurring and to make it look like they have employed more staff.

“Is this then leaving the wards short-staffed and jeopardising the health of mums and babies?

“If another fatality was to occur then it would be one of us who would be held responsible.

“Staff are at breaking point. I contacted the paper because I want something to be done about it and I know the rest of the staff feel the same way.

“We don’t have enough bodies, beds and time to give the babies and their mums the one-to-one care they deserve.”


The whistleblower said staff are being told to discharge patients early to make space for other mums and babies. She added: “The patients aren’t ready to go home, yet we are being instructed to get them out as soon as possible. There are so many risks attached to discharging patients who are not physically and mentally fit to leave.

“We have had mums re-admitted to the hospital with infected section wounds because they haven’t been cared for properly.”

The source added: ”We work 12-hour shifts and don’t have the time to take as much as a 15-minute break. We are terrified that if we leave the wards for too long and an emergency happens then there won’t be enough staff left to handle it.”

“Things need to change. We cannot be gagged for any longer. Every day there are more and more lives being put a risk.”


An NHS Lanarkshire spokesman said: “We are fully committed to providing safe and effective care with babies and families at the centre of everything we do in our maternity and neonatal units.

“The independent report on NHS Lanarkshire neonatal services confirmed the standards of care within the unit were high and that the nurse staffing establishment is in line with the national recommended levels.

“Furthermore, since July, we have appointed a new speciality doctor, an additional trainee and a previous locum doctor has been appointed to a permanent post within the neonatal unit. There are pressures being experienced across Scotland regarding neonatal activity. On a daily basis, NHS Lanarkshire have a multi-disciplinary meeting where women in labour and women who may go into labour pre-term are discussed and the possible impact this will have on admissions to neonatal.

“While activity within the neonatal and maternity unit is variable, the bed occupancy and staffing levels are continually monitored to ensure babies and their mothers remain safe. If there is an increase in activity then trained staff from maternity services can be moved to work in the neonatal unit.

“We also use bank staff and overtime to ensure there is adequate staffing in both units should the need arise. Mums and babies are only discharged once they have undergone an assessment to ensure it is clinically safe.”