Five wards at Glasgow’s biggest hospital were forced to operate with just a single registered nurse on duty this week.

A shortage of staff on Monday evening at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital affected wards including gastroenterology, rheumatology, and diabetes.

NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde Health Board wrote to staff asking them to “continue to support the nurse teams and where possible check in more frequently on the following wards … who will only have 1 Registered Nurse tonight”, reports the Daily Record.

The email from Sharon Parrot, clincal service manager, Medicine South Sector, also told staff that the health board had asked admin workers to stay on to offer support by “answering phones, door buzzer etc”. She said the request would continue for the rest of the week.

Staff due on shift on Tuesday during the day were also asked to come in early to help night shift staff.

And she wrote: “Please note our nurse staffing position has been escalated via our general manager to the South Management Team and the Board.”

A hospital insider said: “If something is not done to address this soon, patients will die and the nurse left alone in charge of 30 patients will be the scapegoat.

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