A SHORTFALL in nurses of around 150 across St Richard’s and Worthing hospitals ‘amplified’ the unexpectedly high demand on A&E over the winter.
Both hospitals were on black alert during December and January and NHS staff had to work overtime and across departments to try to cope.
There are also staffing issues across a range of departments, including ophthalmology and radiography, which bosses are trying to address.
Marianne Griffiths, chief executive of the trust, said: “The board and members of the public will have heard over the past few months how difficult the pressures have been.
“And I have to say these have been amplified by changes around the shortfall that we are all experiencing on the ability to recruit nurses and some other specialities within the organisation.
“We are 2,000 nurses short in the Kent, Surrey and Sussex area, just within our area we are about 150 short and looking across our patch (it’s) about 500 short, whether in the community or at our acute centres.
“So there’s a big issue, there’s 20,000 short nationally so it’s a big challenge for everybody.”
Staffing levels at both hospitals do meet the requirements for each shift but are often made up of agency workers which are more expensive to use.
The trust is embarking on a series of major recruitment drives to try to bring in either new or experienced nurses to fill the shortfall.
A nursing open and selection day is being held at Worthing Hospital on Wednesday, March 25.
You can apply to come along to the day by clicking here http://www.westernsussexhospitals.nhs.uk/your-trust/careers/recruiting-nurses-march-2015/nursing-open-selection-day/