THE suspension of eight further health care workers at Muckamore Abbey has plunged the hospital into a staffing crisis.
Four nurses and four care assistants are the latest to be placed on precautionary suspension.
There are now 28 workers currently unable to return to their posts.
Levels of staff sickness are compounding the problem. Indeed, it is understood that some of the people suspended were on sick leave at the time.
With specialist nurses in short supply across Northern Ireland, more than half the current workforce is provided by bank or agency workers.
Many of the nurses are brought in from England, particularly to cover weekend shifts.
And that comes at a high premium for the Belfast Trust, which runs the scandal-hit facility.
But it also poses serious questions about the viability of the Abbey in the longer term - particularly as the police enquiry into the alleged abuse of vulnerable patients gathers pace.
*Read the full story in this week’s Antrim Guardian