Nurses asked to petition government on staffing levels and HCA standards
Nurses are being called on to sign petitions calling for minimum nurse staffing levels and mandatory basic training and registration for all care staff.
One petition was set up by Niamh McGarry-Gribbin, who helped blow the whistle on poor care of dementia patients in the nursing home in which she worked.
She was a witness in a case involving the neglect of a patient in the Dalton Unit at Stonedale Lodge, a nursing home in Liverpool. It resulted in the care home’s manager, Karen Southern, being convicted of the willful neglect of a person who lacked capacity.
Ms McGarry-Gribbin, a nurse for more than 25 years, also appeared in an ITV documentary highlighting the case, which was screened last October.
She is calling for the improvement of care given to older patients, particularly those with dementia. She wants legislation introduced on minimum standards and training of care staff, including the development of a national register.
However, the petition has only attracted 570 signatures so far and is set to close on 30 April.
A second petition for minimum staff nursing levels was started by Rachel Watson and will close on 5 December 2013.
She is lobbying for a “safer staff nurse-to-patient ratio in order to give [the] dignified, compassionate care that we strive to give”.
The petition, which has so far attracted 2,824 signatures, calls for a staffing level of “one staff nurse to no more than seven patients per shift in an acute general ward setting”.
The Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust public inquiry report, published on 6 February, recommended the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence develop “evidence-based tools” for establishing minimum staffing numbers and skill mix needs for each service in the NHS.
Meanwhile, 57% of respondents to a Nursing Times survey earlier this month described their ward or unit as sometimes or always “dangerously understaffed”.
Both e-petitions are located on the government’s website. If they receive 100,000 signatures in a year they will be considered for debate by the Commons’ backbench business committee.
If they receive more than 10,000 signatures, the Department of Health must provide a statement in response.