A former nurse at Rampton has lifted the lid on conditions inside the high security hospital, saying that staffing levels are dangerously low.
The former nurse, who wishes to remain anonymous, left the hospital within the last 12 months.
A Care Quality Commission report released today details a catalogue of failings at the hospital after an inspection in March.
After the reading the report which gave the hospital a Requires Improvement rating, the former nurse got in touch with us.
“Staffing is horrendous – it’s actually dangerous. If you are working on nights then you often just have one person on a ward,” they said.
“It’s just ridiculous at nights, but daytimes can be just as bad. There are just not enough staff to do activities with patients and this affects them because when they are bored, they just end up winding each other up or causing trouble.
“A lot of the staff feel unsafe – and a lot of the issues at the hospital are down to high sickness levels with a lot of people off work.
“And a lot of it is down to stress because of work – a hell of a lot. Especially on the women’s wards – the self-harm was like nothing you’ve ever seen before.
“Some had to have two staff outside their room at all times on observation. It always has to be two and you can’t budge – no breaks – you always have to be there.
“Lots of people were going without breaks on long shifts.”
Unison say a lot of the failings are down to cuts to the public sector, and the former nurse has a similar view.
“It is definitely down to cuts – staffing cuts,” they said.
“The problem with Rampton was they were saying they were getting new staff through the door, but they can’t retain them.
The former nurse said there is a big issue with lead money – which is essentially danger money for working in a difficult environment.
The extra salary top-up was stopped a couple of years ago to all new starters, but those who joined before then retained the payments.
“There is a huge disparity in the levels of pay between staff who are basically doing the same job. They have created a massive divide between people in terms of salary,” the nurse said.
“It has caused so many issues at Rampton and the levels of pay on offer are bringing in young lads who shouldn’t be dealing with the types of people who are patients.
“There’s a lot of aggression at the hospital, some of the days you are just restraining patients all day – some of the wards are just bear pits.
“That’s a massive issue and there’s a big issue around self-harm. No one want to be the person on duty when someone kills themselves.
“It has happened recently, and it’s inevitable that it will happen again unless things change.
“It will take something major like that for things to change.
“For me, for the money that was paid, it was just not worth it. You could go and work in a supermarket and end up with just as much money.”
Responding the CQC report, a spokesperson for Nottinghamshire Healthcare Trust, who run the hospital, said: “We are disappointed about the inadequate rating for leadership in the Hospital as the senior team in place is working hard to improve staffing and morale.
“The Trust is pleased that the services at Rampton Hospital achieved the rating of good for caring. The care afforded to patients by our staff has delivered improved recovery and outcomes for people with the greatest level of need.
“We will look closely at the final report and have already implemented changes which are making a considerable difference to the staffing issues raised.
“We are confident that the good work that the inspectors saw during their visit including physical health and violence reduction will continue to improve the service provided by the Hospital.”
An advert for staff nurse jobs at Rampton Hospital, posted on the NHS Jobs website, offers to pay the “first year of professional member fees” as an “incentive” for nurses graduating in 2017/18.
The advert is for band five nurses, earning between £21,692 and £28,180 a year, and covers “various wards”.