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'It is hard to hear criticism of the nursing profession'

  • Comments (20)

For those of you out there who are striving every day to deliver compassionate and high-quality care to your patients within the current resource and staffing constraints of the current NHS, this is an even more difficult day than usual. It is hard to hear criticism of the profession.

Without a doubt there was poor nursing care at Mid Staffordshire and at other hospitals around the country. Some of that was the result of particular individuals but as Robert Francis makes clear the problem was more organisational factors including culture, staffing levels and staff skill mix also played a significant part.

But although this is a dark day, it is also the day that brings hope that the problems in the health service which you live everyday will start to be addressed.

In his report Robert Francis makes 290 recommendations which offer a way forward for nursing in particular. The breadth and significance of these recommendations is huge for both nursing and the delivery of healthcare.

The central tenet is that “the patients must be the first priority in all of what the NHS does”.  

For nurses a key recommendation is for each patient to be allocated for each shift a key nurse responsible for their care and for this nurse should be present at every interaction between the patient and the doctor.  

There are recommendations for the implementation of quality metrics and the need for evidence-based tools to establish appropriate minimum staff numbers and skill mix.

Regulation and standardised  training of healthcare assistants and a strengthening of the clinical role of ward managers are important steps. As is the formalisation of the nurses’ continuing professional development with an annual appraisal and portfolio to be signed by nurse and countersigned by their manager.

For these change and improvements we need both will and resources from the government to ensure that the recommendations from the report are carried through.  Nurses now have a platform to articulate their concerns and have their voices heard. We need to grasp this opportunity and ensure the appalling neglect and care at Mid Staffordshire Hospital never happens again.

  • Comments (20)

Readers' comments (20)

  • Anonymous

    no matter how difficult the situation was it is still impossible to imagine how registered nurses or anybody else involved in patient care could allow what happened to some of their patients and how they could have ignored even their most basic needs.

    let's hope what has happened can now be put behind everybody working in the NHS and they can move on towards better understanding of what can go so badly wrong at all levels and provide a stronger, safer and more reassuring service for their patients.

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  • alisha limbu

    though changes are painful but if it is for good let us stand firm in our standard values

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  • Anonymous

    There we have it the truth finally exposed. It is extremely difficult to hear and the reality is that to some extent evey trust has something in common with mid staffs. . . . You see we all know as nurses what our expectations are and the quality we want to deliver. However, money or should I say lack of it has caused this. In some shape or form we have all witnessed it. Ward closures, lack of resources, shortage of staff + lack of support = burnout and poor patient care, leadership issues. This is living proof that running a business like this and implementation of policies which were taken from david blunkett and his reforms with police a few years ago just does not work. Ultimately patients and public have been failed greatly. The culture that mangers have mutated sickens me. There needs to be one hell of a shake up and I dont have faith in the nmc or cqc and it wasnt easy to say that. I am worried for our profession, students entering a career that is nurse eat nurse at times. What a bloody mess!

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  • Tinkerbell

    It is much harder to lose a loved one from neglect/incompetence/money saving.

    This is why this appalling scandal needed to be exposed. As a human being first and foremost & then a nurse i feel relieved it has been exposed. Injustice must be exposed and justice must be seen to be done.

    I would much rather deal with the criticism that nursing is experiencing however hard to hear than for this to be repeated around the country because nothing has been done. We need action NOW and to take this forward to every hospital in the land.

    I have always been proud and felt privileged to be a nurse and i remain so regardless. I have worked with some dross but mostly I have worked with and seen some wonderful nurses.

    We now need to use this report to ensure that nurses feel 'safe' and 'supported' to speak up about bad practice and it is nurses who can lead the way as they have the most contact with patients. Patients and nurses should unite in exposing dreadful care.

    That is the only way we can truly say that leassons have been learned, when we know this is not going to happen where i work because it will not be tolerated.

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  • I do hope this doesn't solely just become another nurse-bashing. How can a DoH not know what goes on at grass roots, shame on them and every level involved. Patient care is a team effort, or so I thought. It is easy to criticise on the outside. The majority of the nurses must have been in despair, and someone is responsible for allowing the lack of care to be imbedded in hospital culture. I hope there are managers and politicians quaking in their shoes all across the UK. Obviously nurses are not totally blameless, but don't let us accept all the blame, and as Anonymous | 6-Feb-2013 6:37 pm states, let us stop this nurse eat nurse culture once and for all.

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  • Anonymous

    Well, this is what you get doing as you are told. Can you imagine Bob Crow and the RMT; allowing their members to work under conditions similar to ours? What do you think the answer would be? Listen boys and girls its time to take more control of our working environment. Don't be afraid to get political, actually get very political. As long as we keep pretending others have Service's best interest at heart we will continue suffer these tragedies. We know, with a few noble exceptions, our 'leaders' are not up to the job. Lets be bloody minded, lets be pernickety, lets strike for the sake of small things. Remember small things all add up. It is not acceptable to keep quiet, not rock the boat or believe passivity is a virtue.

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  • Tinkerbell

    Anonymous | 7-Feb-2013 8:07 pm

    Exactly. If something is wrong and not allowing you to act in your patients best interests now more than any other time we have a been given 'permission' if you like to speak up. Use that permission if permission is what you need.

    Use your own mind to make that decision and then take action and stand your ground. If you don't stand for something then you will fall for anything.

    Don't get into the position where someone can say to you 'i'm trying to build an idiot, can i borrow your mind?

    No more exuses to go along with the system for a quiet life.

    Be true to yourselves.

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  • Anonymous

    I watched this week's programme about the Stafford hospital and I felt very saddened, almost as if it had happened to a family member of mine. However, the root of the problem is the culture of putting money above people, of poor management. This filtered down to become a cultural norm on the "floor". The programme showed a woman who had been dropped after being lifted by a lone HCA. This is appalling in itself but the question wasn't asked "why was the HCA lifting alone?" IF it was asked the answer I am sure would be "because there was no-one else to help me". Nurses have little power to change things from the bottom. Systemic failings start at the top and work down. A recent study shows that there is a direct correlation between the number of qualified nurses and the outcome of patient care. Nurse have always known this but no-one listens to us. Mr Cameron start listening to the people who deliver patient care, implement what they are telling they need to deliver effective patient care, and it's highly unlikely that you will experience a repeat of this appalling tragedy. There is no price on patient care, scrap the business model and implement the NURSING model.

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  • Anonymous

    Sad that everyone blames the nurses while everybody knows the truth. It is kind of funny when all the politicians , directors, doctors and managers points their fingers at the poor nurses for all the problems. Hope they wont tell nurses have to arrange funding to take adequate staff and resources next.

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  • Anonymous

    Nurses take the flack here - sometimes we were at fault - but those who left us to function in that mess and refused to acknowledge or put right this dreadful mess are even more responsible. I hope the public gets to see the faces of the senior management who did nothing to stop this from happening. They should be prepared to answer some very searching questions in public and see what kind of reception that brings.

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