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RCN refutes government's NHS claims

Nurses and other frontline staff will “struggle” to recognise the picture of the NHS painted by a report on the government’s progress since taking office, according to the Royal College of Nursing.

Earlier this week the government published its mid-term review setting out the progress it claimed to have made on policies at the halfway point through the current parliament. 

The government claimed it had “protected the NHS from spending cuts” and its reforms were “starting to deliver significant improvements in outcomes and productivity”.

The report said the overall number of clinical staff had increased by 2,642 and, in particular, the number of doctors in England had risen by 5,180.

It added: “We have improved the standard of care, particularly the treatment and care of people with dementia and other long-term conditions.”

The report cited examples such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile infections reaching their lowest levels since monitoring began and breaches of mixed sex accommodation rules having gone down by 98% since December 2010.

It also noted the setting up the Nursing and Care Quality Forum to advise on best practices in nursing care.

But Peter Carter, RCN chief executive and general secretary, said the reality was that demand for services was continuing to rise while staffing levels were being cut, which was resulting in a direct impact on patient care.

Referring to the college’s Frontline First campaign, which is tracking nursing job cuts, he said: “We know that since May 2010 more than 61,000 posts have either been lost or are set to go in the NHS in England and that more than 7,000 nursing posts have been axed.

“On a daily basis, nurses are telling us that they do not have enough staff to deliver good quality care,” he added.

The government report also reiterated its NHS policy pledges for the near future.

These included the introduction of a national nursing strategy “aimed at building a culture of compassionate care for nursing, midwifery and care staff”.

The strategy was published in December and is based around a set of nursing values known as the “Six Cs”.

In addition, it highlighted that £100m had been allocated to spend on technology for NHS nurses and midwives to “free up time for patient care and make essential patient details instantly available on the ward”.

The money will be loaned to trusts but those that perform well in the government’s new “friends and family” test of patient satisfaction will not have to repay it.

Readers' comments (19)

  • Yes But

    Anybody else noticed that the RCN has become much more outspoken since the Act was passed - I think the RCN was much to moderate before that time.

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  • yep your lying yet again about the nhs cameron

    "The report said the overall number of clinical staff had increased by 2,642"

    thats why 750 of us are about to lose our jobs here at rotherham hospital!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • god this govt carnt half bend the truth

    staff are losing thier jobs all over the place

    or are afraid of losing thier jobs..the nhs is in meltdown and the only people to blame are the tories and the lib dems..fact

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  • Anonymous | 10-Jan-2013 3:01 pm

    some have very short memories. it was labour who created the necessity to cut all of these jobs and tories had to pick up the mess and do something about it. what other choices are there? what would have happened if labour had remained and just carried on as if there was no problem? people are very good at blaming others without coming up with any constructive alternative solutions so nothing progresses.

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  • tinkerbell

    The report said the overall number of clinical staff had increased by 2,642 and, in particular, the number of doctors in England had risen by 5,180.

    It added: “We have improved the standard of care, particularly the treatment and care of people with dementia and other long-term conditions'.

    What a piece of fiction. Move over Hans Christian Anderson.

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  • "What a piece of fiction..."

    do you have the reference to any documentation to show this is correct or are the figures in the report merely plucked out of a hat? It looks as if an independent report is needed for reliability.

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  • £100m on technology, that is sick.
    The NHS is not a factory.
    If the technology can feed, toilet, move and turn patients, change,wash patients, change linen,write notes,book transport, move beds, fill water jugs, dress sores and wounds, administer medication, sort discharge, sort admission, answer the phone, take and carry out instructions from doctors, swab, fill in all nursing charts, talk to relatives, do tea rounds, keep patients from falling, pick patient up, do all types of observations, get and send off specimens, perform CPR make assessments and evaluate without nurses input, then sure it will be OK to spend £100m.
    The amount of time freed up for nurses if this technology is used is negligible or not significant enought to warrant this amount of money.
    I would say there are private companies waiting to make some money out of the NHS under this guise of freeing up nurses time.
    I don't have a problem with private companies selling their products, but this one is pure madness.
    Use less than half that amount of money on more staff and management fit for purpose, the NHS will blossom and this nation will be happy.

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  • so we have more staff? so this is why we have a 20 hour wait when we call out a doctor, why we have more work on the wards than we can finish in a shift, why we end up working past home time to complete tasks we have started/ complete essential tasks which cannot wait till tomorrow?? the NHS is being unpicked inch by inch to make us ripe for privatisation and/or the american style of healthcare. they will sell it to us as the only way forward out of the mess we are in. it will be another lie.

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  • what short memories we have? - wasn't it the Tories (Thatcher) who started the NHS cuts, closed the hospitals, promised (but obviously didn't deliver) care in the community? those were the days when many public service staff went on strike - police, fire service etc.

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  • tinkerbell

    on the news tonight they're going to close 6 prisons, and partially close 3 prisons, before they've built the new prisons, good time to do a crime then.

    It won't be safe to walk the streets soon, with cutbacks on police too. Look at the london riots. 5 police were initially sent to the riots, that's FIVE.

    Community care was supposedly put in place to cope with the emptying of all the mental institutions but, guess what, it was half baked and not properly available and community care has never been properly resourced or funded.

    What can possibly go wrong? What other madness have they got in store for us all.

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  • tinkerbell

    Sorry i can't remember the names of those on the panel but............On Questiontime tonight they said that lewisham hospital which is under threat of closure is solvent and is going to be punished for their good management by keeping the other hospital open who haven't been able to manage their budget. So they are being punished for their good management and the other hospital not under threat is being rewarded for not managing their budget.
    Lewisham hospital have offered to take over the hospital management of the hospital that is in deficit.

    Staff working at lewisham hospital asked the panel if they can see Jeremy hunt when wots her name who went on 'I'm a celebrity get me out of here' said she will be seeing Jeremy hunt tomorrow to ask that lewisham hospital remain open and someone in the audience, an nhs worker, i presume, asked if they can go with her to see Jeremy hunt because he hasn't been listening to staff.

    The other speaker, who is founder of the big issue, said he spoke to workers from lewisham hospital and they said that lewisham hospital is closing because it serves a working class population mostly and the other hospital mostly doesn't and has mostly tory voters. He said he didn't know whether this was the reason lewisham was under threat of closure but he just wanted to get there out there. Nice one.

    Perhaps the other poster that comes on here and gives a much better outline of what happened on question time, with names, can assist. But you get the general gist.

    More hosptial closures on the way no doubt because of the PFI failures, which was madness to start with but why punish a hospital that was providing safe care and good management? Perhaps because their face don't fit the tory agenda.

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  • I saw question time tonight in Lewisham,it was good. My qestion is why are we not hearing about these important issues. If I did not look at question time I would not have have known these idiots want to close yet another hospital.

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  • tinkerbell

    Anonymous | 11-Jan-2013 1:28 am

    Possibly to keep the general public in the dark about all their amoral antics, until they have whipped the carpet out from under us all and it's a done deal. They only want you to hear about what they want you to hear about, right now they just want the public to hear that ALL nurses are crap and ALL hospitals are crap, and that the whole of the NHS is crap.

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  • There is absolutely no sense whatsoever in closing the A&E in Lewisham, where do they think patients will go - Kings? Guys? - these are busy busy hospitals.

    Lewisham is one of Londons top hospitals for A&E, Maternity and Paediatrics, I can't believe they can even think about closing or reducing these beds.

    Bromley (PRUH) is only about 10 years old, it serves a massive local community. I know it well and I have and never would vote conservative. PFI has a lot to answer for, whose idea was it in the first place?

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  • I hear the maternity uit at Lewisham hospital had to close for a day recently because it was so full. if this is the case, what will happen to these women if it closes permanently?

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  • thatcher wanted to scrap the nhs...this has come out under the 30 year rule on freedom of information

    all thats happening now is the tories are going ahead with what she wanted to do

    we have hunt who said the nhs was a 60 year mistake and wanted it removed from the opening ceromony of last years olympics

    tories yeh they love the nhs...my rear end they do...they can afford private...

    its full steam ahead to privatise the nhs before the next general election , when with a bit of luck, they will be out and we can start to rebuild the nhs again

    these tories despise the working class...the old eton club called the "bullingdon club" who had osborne, cameron and boris johnson as members when they went to the thier toff school, has a new initiation cermony for new members.....it involves burning a £50 note in front of a beggar...how low can you go...just shows the contempt they have for us plebs!!!

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  • Anonymous | 11-Jan-2013 10:03 am

    it is not a reason for discrimination just because you disagree with the policies of others

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  • There needs to be a balance, but it appears that any bookseller would file this under "fiction". There needs to be massive clinically focused investment in technology and staff (both numbers and training). It is unacceptable for any drip to be free flowing when both drug and volume can be so damaging (under and over). An infusion pump is technology and the right clinical application can be just as beneficial. Just using electronic referrals rather than post saves at least a week of waiting time for the patient. Using a service like Choose and Book means the patient can decide when is most convenient for them which reduces DNA rates, as do text reminders etc. The NHS needs to continue the massive investment in infrastructure and people started by the last government, it does not need massive disruption and change for purely idealogical reasons.

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  • Anonymous | 11-Jan-2013 10:03 am

    Totally well said!

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