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Disdain over pay must not be repeated
The article ‘Pay rise due in November salary’ (NT News, 23 October, p3) stated that the RCM has accepted the government pay offer in England, an offer that ignored the recommendations of the independent pay review body.

The RCM rejected the offer but is taking no further action, respecting the majority decision of health service unions.

Our members were left dispirited and angry by the government’s decision. I hope, as we submit our evidence for next year’s award, that the disdain the government has shown for the independent pay determination process for health workers is not repeated.

Jon Skewes
Director of employment relations and development
RCM, London

We must have funding for specialist nurses
At some point in their working lives most ward-based general nurses come across a patient who has mental health issues, as well as physical problems.

On many occasions I have been involved in the care of psychiatric patients in a general setting, and the response from the ward staff varies widely.

There seems to be no consistency in approach.

A big factor is funding. Budget holders appear to develop apoplexy whenever they are asked to fund specialist nurses, without seeming to look fully into the case and carrying out any risk assessments.

Colin King
Via email

HCC did not fail to act over Maidstone
I would like to clarify the misconceptions in a recent letter about the role of the Healthcare Commission (NT Letters, 30 October, p14).
As the independent regulator, the HCC acted as soon as it was made aware by the strategic health authority of the problems at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust.

We launched a full investigation of infection control practices at the trust.

The role of the regulator is not to manage the performance of NHS trusts – the SHAs do that. We were given the task of investigating service failures and ensuring that lessons learnt contribute to improving care.

We required Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust to improve the way it handled infection throughout the investigation, not just at the culmination. It is completely untrue to suggest that since we had begun the investigation we failed to take appropriate action. Where we found a need for action, we ensured it was taken.

The investigation findings have been sent to every trust in the country, ensuring that the NHS takes on board the lessons to be learnt from this tragedy.

Nigel Ellis
Head of investigations
Healthcare Commission

Think ahead to help resuscitation decisions
Dignity in Dying, which campaigns for greater patient choice at the end of life, was interested to see the new guidelines on resuscitation issued by the British Medical Association, the RCN and the Resuscitation Council.

If a GP or consultant is not available, it is common sense that a senior nurse should be allowed to decide whether or not to attempt resuscitation.

We support a patient-centred approach to end-of-life care. Therefore we fully endorse these guidelines.

We do appreciate that these decisions are difficult for healthcare professionals.

Consequently, we encourage people to complete an advance decision, which notifies health professionals of a patient’s wishes should she or he become mentally incapacitated.

Under the Mental Capacity Act, advance decisions are now statutory.

Ashley Riley
Head of campaigns and communications
Dignity in Dying

Dawn Chapman, who has won an award for her oncology work (NT News, 23 October, p5), is a nurse consultant, not a clinical nurse practitioner as stated.

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