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Proper staff training is vital for patient safety - plus other letters

We were pleased to see that NT is organising a campaign calling for nurses to receive professional training.

One of our ‘Expectations’ (the inspection criteria that HM Inspectorate of Prisons uses to inspect all aspects of prison life, including healthcare) states that we expect ‘patients [to be] treated by staff who receive ongoing training, supervision and support to maintain their professional registration and ontinue their professional development’.

In the past year we have seen many cases where training has been lacking due to a reduction in education budgets by the PCT or other provider.

As a result we have often made recommendations that, for example, all healthcare staff should receive annual training in resuscitation.

Sadly though, when we return (unannounced) in order to check how our recommendations are being implemented, we are often disappointed to find the training situation has not improved, and has sometimes even worsened.

The lack of ringfenced funding for training and professional development results in substandard care for patients. This can include some nurses undertaking work, such as running specialised clinics, without appropriate training.

Elizabeth Tysoe, head of health inspection
Mandy Whittingham, deputy head of health inspection
HM Inspectorate of Prisons

Exercise helps improve your mental well-being

I am unsure whether Steven Pack was writing with tongue in cheek regarding his views on exercise.

Many people will be thrilled to hear Mr Pack’s thoughts. However, as a mental health nurse he must be aware that exercise is advocated in the management plan for stress and anxiety.

Exercise relieves boredom, generates a feeling of well-being, gets people out of the house and has a major role in physical health. Walking and gardening are free, simple forms of exercise – the gym
and running routines are not an expectation.

So Mr Pack, when you are feeling low, what is it to be? A brisk walk in the fresh air, or a few steps towards the fridge?

Mandy Edwards, nurse practitioner, general practice

Nurses in care homes need better salaries

Many registered nurses have chosen to care for older people in the independent sector. But many independent sector care homes only pay £10 per hour, whether day or night.

Nurses often find themselves responsible for about 40 patients with a multitude of illnesses. However, with no physiotherapist or occupational therapists on hand they often feel obliged to carry out tasks that are normally undertaken by these professionals.

Nurses in care homes need to be given better support, and we need a more acceptable salary.

Come on – are we worth less than hospital nurses? I don’t think so. The general nurse, relatives and patients alike would be shocked to hear how poorly we are paid.

Name and address supplied

Mixed-sex wards hinder patient dignity

With reference to your article ‘Will we ever see the end of mixed wards?’, I was very saddened to learn ministers have admitted they are failing to meet the pledge to abolish mixed-sex wards).

From personal experience, I know that being admitted to hospital can be a distressing experience, especially for older people, and to be nursed on a mixed-sex ward may cause additional anxiety due to issues surrounding privacy and dignity.

Contrary to ministers’ recent claims, single-sex bays will not suffice in meeting their original election pledge.

We must respect patient dignity at all times and to do so we must have single-sex wards.

Lisa Beaumont, third-year nursing student

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