Many nurses feel like they are working in a war zone even though they are actually working in a NHS district general hospital in a town or in the outskirts of a city. They don’t have enough staff, enough equipment and feel stretched to their limits. They feel concerned they are failing their patients and not supporting families.
Although many will welcome the Francis report and what it recommends, many will feel that it will not change the reality of their day to day struggle.
They will wholeheartedly agree with the call for more professional and compassionate care, the need to improve workplace culture, the call for the ward sister to return. Clear labeling of staff, regulation and standardised training for HCAs and aptitude tests for potential student nurses. All to be welcomed.
But what does the report do to address the fact that too few nurses are looking after too many patients with complex comorbidities? The only chink of light that I can see is that Robert Francis calls for “evidence-based tools for establishing the staffing needs of each service”.
Until services and units are properly staffed, it will be difficult to offer the quality care that Francis outlines without the majority of staff finishing their shift in a state of exhaustion and frustration. The recommendation in the Francis report to establish staffing needs of each service is not one that has hit the headlines, but it is one of the most important.