THE Morecambe Bay hospital trust has been criticised for its staffing levels just months after being warned about the same issue.

The Care Quality Commission has announced it is ‘considering what further action to take’ after carrying out an unannounced inspection of ward 39 at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and finding it still did not have enough staff.

“There were not enough qualified, skilled and experienced staff to meet people's needs,” said the report.

“We have judged that this has a major impact on people who use the service, and have told the provider to take action.”

The ward, run by the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Trust, came under fire last year for the same reason, and managers were told to take action.

But the most recent inspection in January - the results of which have been released today - found the trust had failed to comply with two warning notices.

The report says ‘there should be enough members of staff to keep people safe and meet their health and welfare needs’.

It added: “We have told the trust that immediate action must be taken and are considering the need for any further regulatory intervention on our part.”

According to inspectors, one patient said they felt ‘sorry’ for nurses, who were ‘kept very busy’.

Another said: "The nurses are brilliant, very overworked, they have to do so many things."

And a worked revealed ‘staff go home crying’.

However, inspectors said more staff had been recruited since last time they visited and the use of agency staff had increased.

Sue Smith, executive chief nurse for the trust, said: “The report shows that the trust was already acting on the findings of a previous unannounced visit, and since the report, more progress has been made.

“I spend time on our wards every week, and I know first-hand that our staff work hard day-in, day-out to ensure services are safe, and standards of care continue to be improved for the benefit of all of our patients.”

She said staffing on the ward is now up to the right level and the trust is continuing to monitor staffing levels.

Over the last year more than 130 new nurses have joined the trust across its Kendal, Furness and Lancaster sites.

“We still have work to do,” added Nurse Smith.

“The Trust is committed to being open and transparent.”