lets hope that despite government reluctance to enforce maximum patient to RN ratios (ideally 4 to 1 as per evidence but 6 to 1 would be a start) that recommendations include this. Other countries have seen the light-USA, Australia... Maybe our useless representative bodies and unions need to take a leaf out of the Australians' book....their unions ran adverts illustrating the differences that having the right number of RNs can make....any chance that the RCN or Unison will do the same?
The current way that Trusts are allowed to calculate their WTE nurses needs to be addressed...they can include managers who would no longer be able to care for a patient but still retain a PIN number under the NMC guidelines. Having worked in countries with much better nurse to patient ratios I can add that it isn't rocket science. The bigger problem is one of funding. I worked in hospitals in the US with set ratios ( all privately funded) and county hell holes within the same catchment area that did not. The differences were obvious. If you had insurance you would not be caught dead in a county hospital, if you didn't then you were. How about this for starters (as the unions here obviously don't have the stomach for strike action) every hospital has to display the ratio of qualified nurses to patients by WARD and SPECIALITY, on a big board by the main entrance. This has to be updated on a shift by shift basis....hey, the bedmanagers could fill it in. Above the board the following slogan "IS THIS GOOD ENOUGH?" Each ward then has the phrase "TODAY EACH NURSE HAS TO CARE FOR X NUMBER OF PATIENTS" along with the "IS THIS GOOD ENOUGH" slogan, as you enter the ward itself. The name of the directorate manager and their contact details would be an added bonus. I am tired of filling out IR1s for poor staffing levels when I just get the standard response....nobody gives a rats ass. The unions and the royal colleges already know the damage that poor nursing ratios bring they are just not prepared to do anything about it. Union officials are just another brand of career politician.
A wise man once told me that by the time we reached the 21st century, nurses would no longer be found on UK wards due to the cost. They would only work in areas such as ED and ICU where unskilled workers could not replace them. He thought that HCAs and unpaid housekeepers would be responsible for patient care on other wards....I laughed as it was the 1980s and it sounded like science fiction or cyberpunk to me....now here we are.....
Comment on: Nurses warn Lansley of pressure in acute sector
I've left pretty much the same comment on the Unions post. When I was a student, a wise man (a patient who worked in logistics at a fairly high level) told me that in my lifetime, RNs would become too expensive for the NHS to staff wards with, so we would be replaced by "housekeepers" these would be unpaid volunteers who would work alongside HCAs. RNs would only be in ICUs and ED. I laughed so hard as it was the early 1980s....how wrong was I? "This is the way the world ends....." Lets face it, the powers that be want to return to a fuedal system. Laugh as I did but fool me once....
Comment on: Unions fight to keep national pay deal
"This is the way the world ends....not with a bang but a whimper." I tell any student that works with me to emigrate, as I wish to god I had stayed in the US. It makes no difference which party is in power, the NHS has had it. A wise man once told me, many years ago when I was still a wide-eyed student, that in my lifetime, the only place that would still have RNs would be ICU and everywhere else we would be replaced by HCAs. It was the 1980s so I laughed. Here we are in the 21st century and he was right. The hospitals of the future will have massive ICU hubs surrounded by wards staffed purely by HCAs. Private sector ICUs will not be filled with chronic patients as NHS ones are nowadays...they will only contain elective surgical patients who can pay. Whats left of the NHS will no longer be able to afford ICUs but will have to keep them as private hospitals will not want the burden of running EDs. Without protected staff ratios no one will want to work in the NHS and quite frankly, no one will blame them.