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RCN refutes government's NHS claims

  • 19 Comments

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.

  • 19 Comments

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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