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Nurse leaders issue warning over staff numbers

shalom2010
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Posts: 972
Registered: 28-12-2012

Nurse leaders issue warning over staff numbers

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-22481151
"The government said hospitals were responsible for their own staffing."
This is the real problem on hospital wards - maybe the hospitals should have have less managers & more nurses. However, even reducing the paperwork is not really the
solution, they simply don't have enough nurses!
13 REPLIES
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Re: Nurse leaders issue warning over staff numbers

I've seen a major local Walk-In Centre and also a local District Nurse team taken over from a PCT by a major Hospital Trust. The Trust was primarily interested in the funding that goes with those service.  The Walk-In Centre was closed (absorbed) and the team dispersed, the District Nurse team is about to be decimated and several highly experienced nurses have received atrocious treatment from their new employers.  Longer queues in A&E.....
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Community Veteran
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Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Nurse leaders issue warning over staff numbers

An issue that means a lot to me having recently been in hospital.
We had 3 nurses on the ward at night to cover something like 20 patients. It just isn't enough. The day times were better but the nights were not good. Granted they just about managed but sometimes when you hit the nurse call button it would be going off for ages at the nurses station before they got to you.
I'm still being visited by the district nurses every 3-4 days and to be honest, they're brilliant. I've only once managed to successfully call out the doctor yet the district nurses "Ok we'll come back to you in x days" with no hassle at all.
What is of greater concern to me though is the ambulance service. When you ring 999 for an ambulance when you're in trouble, you expect their help don't you. Twice they refused to come to me and one of those times was definitely life threatening. One of their staff told me off the record that they've had their night ambulances for the county cut from over 30 to less than 10 and even then they are SHARING ambulances with the neighbouring counties. This WILL cost lives. Real people WILL die because the first port of call (ambulance service) is not helping those who are in serious trouble.
Yes cuts are needed but cutting life saving services and medical staff is not the way to go. I could think of at least 3 doctors my trust could get rid of easily as they're so useless but no doubt they will be secure for life  Roll eyes
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rja66
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Registered: 31-07-2007

Re: Nurse leaders issue warning over staff numbers

I'm sure most will agree, the quality of our nursing staff is generally very good with dedicated people working very hard. The fact is that there are just not enough 'front line' staff to cope.
I think it is appalling that immigrants walk into our country and get offered free housing, healthcare and benefits (without having paid anything in), politicians get away with claiming for anything and everything (im sure they still do) and we the British public have to frequently rely on charities to get the support we need.
It's about time the NHS gets the proper funding it needs so its staff can cope on a daily basis, earn a decent wage which they deserve and people don't die needlessly. Sadly I have no faith in this government to resolve this or the last one which helped create this situation.
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Re: Nurse leaders issue warning over staff numbers

Another issue is A&E departments. A Number of these are being closed and services transferred to existing A&E departments. If waiting times are between 2 & 3 Hours the reduction in A&E departments can only increase the waiting times of the remaining ones. Add to that the fiasco of the 111 phone line and it's clear the number of deaths due to lack of services can only increase.
Those at greatest risk appear to be the elderly and in particular those with no family or carer to support them. Younger people are more likely to kick up a fuss about lack of treatment or waiting times and have the energy to make formal complaints whereas many elderly people simply do not have the time or energy or do not wish to be regarded as trouble makers.
Years ago time and motion studies were the flavour of the month and I wonder if a similar exercise should be carried out on a few A&E departments, not with the intention of trying to identify if people can work faster but to record the amount of time spent on writing records,phone calls,time spent with relatives,patients etc as this might clearly identify that the number of current staff available was completely inadequate to provide a safe service to patients. 
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Re: Nurse leaders issue warning over staff numbers

Nurse leaders issue warning over staff numbers
That would be much more appropriate if the headline was "Nurse leaders issue warning to staff".
I think hospitals get more than enough money. Some, I agree, could be better spent.
My recent experience, dear old Mum, in hospital. Three nurses in old peoples ward. Poor care after a cheek operation. Two female nurses can only be best described as flouncing around doing very little meaningful work. Mum was given hard chewy food to eat and when she complained another patient in the ward, an old ex nurse as it turned out, actually labeled her as a moaner.
After having a "chat" with the nurses about their level of  "care" Mum got a male South African nurse to look after her. She liked him and he actually helped feed and clean her. A real nurse.
When looking around the ward you couldn't help notice cold plates of food at the bottom of some beds. No effort to feed other patients ever seen. My only thought was God help those old dears who can't speak up for themselves or have no one to speak up for them.
When it was time for her to leave there was a complication that needed a doctor to check. We were told no doctor was available. As the problem was directly attributable to lack of care I said in that case we aren't leaving and helped my Mum back into bed. The nurse I was talking to was a joke. Aimlessly walking around with a clipboard at the best of times. After pointing the problem out to her I watched she walked with her clipboard halfway up a corridor, scratched her head, turned around and came back again. Eventually she talked with another nurse and lo and behold a doctor appeared.
During the brief examination all the doctor seemed mostly concerned with was making excuses for the situation. As it turned out some extra medication corrected the problem which shouldn't have arisen in the first place.
My previous personal experience of nurses many decades ago, when they really were low paid, was that they were definitely dedicated angels then.
Which is why I think the so called nurse leaders should at least concentrate some of their efforts on ensuring that their members are at least half competent and do actually nurse patients. And what were their members doing at Mid Staffordshire?
Community Veteran
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Re: Nurse leaders issue warning over staff numbers

A lot of the problem with nursing care is that a lot of their training is now done off the wards and they undertake a degree course in order to qualify.  When they eventually take up a nursing position they think feeding and caring for patients is beneath them.  I am aware this is a general statement but one that is often heard.
It is the responsibility of the hospital to set staffing levels and not the government. Local conditions vary and should be reflected in the staffing levels on the wards.
shalom2010
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Registered: 28-12-2012

Re: Nurse leaders issue warning over staff numbers

I think it's very easy to go to a ward a see lot's of 'nurses', whilst in reality they are not. Most are Health Care Assistants. We really do need more Nurses - now!
Community Veteran
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Re: Nurse leaders issue warning over staff numbers

Some time ago we did away with the State Enrolled Nurse position which was one down from Staff Nurse.  This was when more HCAs were recruited.  They were not as well qualified but cost less to employ. They were also not able to do many of the tasks of the SEN putting more pressure on the senior staff.
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Re: Nurse leaders issue warning over staff numbers

Quote from: gleneagles
Those at greatest risk appear to be the elderly and in particular those with no family or carer to support them. Younger people are more likely to kick up a fuss about lack of treatment or waiting times and have the energy to make formal complaints whereas many elderly people simply do not have the time or energy or do not wish to be regarded as trouble makers.

Being in my early 30s, I have to disagree. At the hospital I was in they openly admitted that the trusts policy is of minimal surgical intervention with younger people and would try to avoid it at all costs. That really is not good. My generation is expected to work harder for less and yet we're often denied the medical help we need in order to work effectively (even in an emergency). Some NHS trusts have a very skewed vision of how to keep the nation healthy.
The NHS needs more nurses not less. It needs more emergency resources too. These cuts are nothing short of criminal. People will die because of them.
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Community Veteran
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Re: Nurse leaders issue warning over staff numbers

Quote from: artmo
When they eventually take up a nursing position they think feeding and caring for patients is beneath them.

That is the root of the problem. That and huge hospitals which has led to a factory mentality.
Community Veteran
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Re: Nurse leaders issue warning over staff numbers

Large hospitals are not necessarily a bad thing but can lead to better outcomes.  Where services are centralised it allows doctors to treat more patients getting more experience leading to better results.  It also allows better, more sophisticated and expensive technology to be used. None of this is possible in a fragmented set-up.
A good example of this centralisation is cancer treatment where I live in Essex.  Cancer treatment is being concentrated in a London hospital (UCL) for certain forms of the disease to take advantage of a centre of excellence which is world renowned.  It does, however, present a number of logistical problems which have to be faced such as visiting and getting to the centre.
Another good example of centralisation working is the plastic surgery services in Essex and east London.  This service is concentrated at one hospital, Broomfield, and patients come from all over the world to be treated there.
I do not include A & E services in my remarks.  By definition these have to be accessible on a local level.
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Re: Nurse leaders issue warning over staff numbers

Quote from: Sprite
Quote from: gleneagles
Those at greatest risk appear to be the elderly and in particular those with no family or carer to support them. Younger people are more likely to kick up a fuss about lack of treatment or waiting times and have the energy to make formal complaints whereas many elderly people simply do not have the time or energy or do not wish to be regarded as trouble makers.

Being in my early 30s, I have to disagree. At the hospital I was in they openly admitted that the trusts policy is of minimal surgical intervention with younger people and would try to avoid it at all costs. That really is not good. My generation is expected to work harder for less and yet we're often denied the medical help we need in order to work effectively (even in an emergency). Some NHS trusts have a very skewed vision of how to keep the nation healthy.
The NHS needs more nurses not less. It needs more emergency resources too. These cuts are nothing short of criminal. People will die because of them.
Depends on what they mean by "Minimal surgical intervention" What they may mean is that all other avenues of treatment need to be explored before surgical intervention."
For example some hospitals may be to quick to suggest a gastric band rather than spend more time looking at alternative weight reducing measures.
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Re: Nurse leaders issue warning over staff numbers

Problems started once Nurse Training was transferred from hospitals to universities.
When students were employed by the hospital it was possible to identify fairly quickly unsuitable candidates as they would be working and observed by trained and experienced staff in a working environment, even the people teaching in schools of nursing had to be trained nurses with additional qualifications. These days students are like most other university students attending lectures between 9-4 with the usual breaks in between, compare that to the student nurses of the past who worked nights,week ends and bank holidays for a wage a lot less than a shop assistant and you get an idea of where things went wrong. In Other words no one ever went into Nursing for the money they did it because it was a hard but rewarding job.
No Doubt there are many good nurses today but given the choice I would prefer care from those trained in the old school.