Helen Maw, RCN Senior Officer for Suffolk, Norfolk and North East Essex, said: “Everyone working at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust will be disappointed to see its rating drop so significantly in the last two years and the implications this has for both staff and patients.
“We know our members strive to provide the best possible care for patients and this is reflected in the CQC’s finding that the services provided by the trust were ‘good’ for whether they are effective and caring. “However, it is clear that improvements must be made to ensure services are safe, responsive and well-led.
“The RCN’s Staffing for Safe and Effective Care campaign has been highlighting to politicians and the public that having the right number of nursing staff in the right place at the right time is vital to protecting patients. It also protects those staff who too often find themselves struggling to maintain services in the face of nursing vacancies and high sickness levels.
“We know nurses and health care support staff are burning out through stress linked to conditions in their workplace. The Government must act now to enshrine safe staffing levels in law.
“In addition, everyone working in the NHS must feel able to come forward where they have concerns about what they see happening in the workplace without fear of retribution. Only then can action be taken to learn from any mistakes and make sure patients feel their safety is a priority.
“The RCN will be speaking to our representatives and members at the West Suffolk Hospital following this report and we will continue to support them with any concerns they have about their own area of work and the safety of patients.”