A Sussex hospital last night denied claims it is dangerously understaffed.

The Princess Royal Hospital in West Sussex was one of 17 hospitals named as having inadequate staffing levels.

The list, obtained by Labour, stated the hospitals were issued with warnings by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) after its latest inspections.

It has been reported that each hospital did not have enough staff to keep people safe and meet their health and welfare needs.

The inspections may have only taken place in parts of the hospitals, but patients’ groups said any lack of staff was a grave concern.

But the reports were virulently denied by chief operating officer at Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Nikki Luffingham.

Extra midwives

Last night she issued a statement which said: “The Princess Royal Hospital does not have ‘dangerously low numbers of nurses’ as reported in a Sunday national newspaper.

“The hospital’s maternity department was inspected by a CQC team in November 2012.

“The team indentified that our ratio of midwives to birthing mums in the department was lower than it should be – an issue we were already aware of and had already taken steps to address.

“An additional 15 midwives have been recruited for the Princess Royal maternity department and should all be in post in the next couple of months.”

Required standard

Another hospital exposed in the list published by The Sunday Telegraph was St Anne’s House in East Sussex.

The house is actually the name of the St Leonards headquarters of the East Sussex NHS Hospital’s Trust.

Checks by The Argus of the CQC reports into each of the trust’s eight hospitals found all staffing to be meeting required standards.

No one at the trust was available for comment.

No one at the CQC was able to comment on the inconsistencies.

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