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HCA under fire for 'deathbed note'


A healthcare assistant who left a note on a patient’s bed attacking cost cuts came under the media spotlight. 

Brenda Nixon said she wrote the note in anger after hearing five beds at Haywood Hospital in Staffordshire, were earmarked for terminally ill patients with the implication they would only be staying for 48 hours.

Ms Nixon wrote a note, saying: “They come in here nearly dead. Hopefully they will not last more than two days. We are not allowed to help. It is the credit crunch.”

The note was found by the son of a stroke victim. Ms Nixon, who was suspended over the incident and has since retired, told newspapers she did not regret writing the note but had not intended it to be read. “I was angry at the way it was being said that they [patients] had two days to live,” she said.


Readers' comments (25)

  • Sorry, absolutely no justification for this persons actions, which she must have known had the potential to cause distress to patients and relatives alike.

    Too many other ways she could have vented her anger which would not have caused such distress.

    Glad she has gone.

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  • I personally think she was very brave to voice her opinions. There are too many nurses who won't speak up scared that what happened to Brenda Nixon will happen to them.
    When are nurses going to unite and voice there views without the threat of recriminations.
    Well done Brenda!

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  • I am shocked at the comment above. whilst everybody has a right to voice their opinions it should NEVER be taken out on patients or their families or visitors. the workplace or ward must remain professional and opinions can be voiced outside to employers, politicians, the general public, the NMC or RCN, the press or anybody else.

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  • Maybe she has a point??? However I agree with anonymous above, too many other places she could have gone to and these actions would undoubtedly cause undue distress to patients and relatives.
    Answer me one question.... why would someone write a note and 'not intend it to be read???' Defeats the object of writing a note does it not?

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  • I agree with Brenda, there is to much in the health care setting that is left to others (ie Managers) to decide whats best for the sick patient, whilest it is wrong to cause distress to patients and there families, you are told to whistle blow and look where it gets this worker.

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  • Anonymous | 6-Nov-2010 2:00 pm

    Whistleblowing maybe in order but it has to be done according to acceptable proceedures of the workplace involved.

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  • to KW

    Writing notes, even for onself, can be an excellent way of expressing feelings and ordering thoughts as they can be edited at will and filed away for later consultation and one's own use or destroyed. However, if they are not intended for anybody else to read they should not be left lying around, by accident on purpose!

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  • This lady did not mean to cause any distress to the family of this patient. She was upset at the time of writing the letter and it was her way of venting. It was not directed at patients, it's directed at management. It is just unfortunate that she was so careless with what she done with that note.

    I do not believe for one minute she was taking it out on patients and families.It is unfair how this incident has been sensationilised in the press.

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  • This is the problem nowadays, once the press get hold of a story the finger of blame is immediately pointed by anybody and everybody without being in posession of all the facts. The same with the story of the nurse who turned off the life support machine.

    I reserve all judgement on anybody unless their situation has been thouroughly investigated by the regulatory bodies concerned, and even then with reserve, and until the full facts have been revealed for everybody to examine.

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  • why shouldnt patients and famlies be made aware of the fincancial barriers we face in the nhs?? we are also consumers as well as workers of the nhs yet patients are blissfully unaware of the full impact of cuts and buget restrictions (cuts) - maybe if joe public was told and aware of the reasons why they recieve/do not recieve such treatments or are having to wait x amount of time etc - then maybe we wouldnt have so many angry pts/relatives, and maybe anger would be more rightly directed towards management forcing accountablity and stop such drastic cuts to some services. why do the public need to be kept so patronisinly in the dark?
    unfortunate for brenda that the note was found laying around esp if it was unintentional!

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