UNION members say staff shortages at a hospital are a “disaster waiting to happen”.

The GMB said a lack of hospitality staff at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton meant some are “constantly forced to rush from area to area”.

It warned the hospital could face “industrial consequences” if management did not address pressure on staff.

Regional organiser Gary Palmer claimed incorrect information had been displayed on patients’ beds and patients were not getting meals on time because of pressures on staff.

“We have told hospital management this is a disaster in waiting,” he said.

“In failing to react to GMB members concerns they are disrespecting the needs of the patients and risking their wellbeing.

“It’s also about having time for patients and the daily interactions that can assist in making someone’s stay in hospital that little more pleasant, not having to run through wards ignoring patients whilst dishing out meals.

“Our members are feeling pretty undervalued right now and they are becoming angry at the lack of respect and appreciation shown by management towards them.”

One anonymous staff member said it was increasingly hard to go to work because they felt undervalued.

“I love working for the NHS and could put up with being paid the lowest wages in the trust if management and the trust at least showed me some respect and appreciation,” the GMB member said.

Brighton and Sussex chief medical officer Dr George Findlay said he was “extremely proud of the entire workforce”. “Over the last year, we have changed the way we provide patient meals at the Royal Sussex County Hospital,” he said.

“In the new structure, there is a dedicated host to serve meals on each ward and a team of support workers across the site offering help where it is needed.

“Previously, both housekeepers and catering staff would serve patient meals.

“We are very clear about our procedures regarding patient safety, particularly in relation to meals and allergies.”

It is understood there are 19 vacancies in the hospital’s housekeeping team.