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Attitude of some nurses 'left much to be desired', says Mid Staffs report


Nursing staff at Mid Staffs did not completely escape criticism in Robert Francis’ report on care failings at the foundation trust.

Despite mostly apportioning blame to managers rather than clinical staff, it found a culture at the trust where some staff provided unsatisfactory levels of care, and other staff tolerated this poor care.

“Although some members of staff were singled out for praise by patients, concerns were expressed about the lack of compassion and uncaring attitude exhibited by others towards vulnerable patients and the marked indifference they showed to visitors,” the report says.

Patients and their relatives told the inquiry of requests to use bedpans or go to the toilet that were ignored; patients being left on commodes for too long; and patients being left in sheets soiled with urine or faeces.

The report was told that the attitude of some nurses towards these problems “left much to be desired”.

Some families felt obliged or were left to take home soiled sheets or to change beds.

“Some staff were dismissive of the needs of patients and their families,” the report says.

The report says this evidence points towards a systematic failure of good care, and it says: “The causes of these instances of poor care included, in a small number of cases, staff who appeared uncaring. More often there were inadequate numbers of staff on duty to deal with the challenge of a population of elderly and confused patients.”

It adds: “It is difficult to believe that lapses on the scale that was evidenced could have occurred if there had been an adequately implemented system of nursing and ward management.”

The report also heard complaints about poor hygiene practice among staff, such as using a razor on more than one patient, and neglect of basics such as cleaning patients’ teeth.

The report says: “A wholly unacceptable standard was tolerated on some of the trust’s wards for a significant number of patients.”

Robert Francis’ report makes a number of recommendations that could affect nurses. They are:


The trust, in conjunction with the nursing school at Staffordshire University, the royal colleges, and the deanery, should review its training procedures to ensure that high-quality professional training and development is provided at all levels
Audit in all clinical departments should be improved, and staff must be required to participate in audit processes
Staff must be involved in the complaints process from investigation to when any action is taken
The board must give priority to ensuring that any member of staff raising a concern is supported and protected
The board should review the management and leadership of nursing staff
The management structure of the trust must be reviewed to ensure that clinical staff and their views are fully represented at all levels of the trust
The trust should review its record-keeping procedures in conjunction with clinical staff
All nursing staff should have training in the diagnosis and management of acute confusion
The trust must ensure that its nurses work to a published set of principles, focusing on safe patient care

Readers' comments (17)

  • I am a Staff Nurse working on a busy surgical ward & we are forever fighting to get beds for our patients, a couple of weeks ago, we had 5 x patients coming in, no beds & bed managers say ( the night before), tomorrow's another day as they fill up our beds with inappropriate admissions, we as ward staff are left to apologise & ring around other wards trying to get our patients beds, & what did the manager say when she came over ( I must add when the problems had been sorted), complained about boxes that were outside our treatment room, and how unsafe they were being there!!!!! Not did you manage to get all the patients beds????? Angry, thats not the word I could have used, & its ongoing, wearing us down, day in , day out!!!!!!!......................

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  • I am a qualified nurse who loves what she does but..... all this constant criticism in the press about nurses being uncaring etc... and something you don't hear about the increasing verbal and physical violence towards nurses, just what do you think that does for our moral/ spirit? I think people forget that we are human too with feelings that can be hurt.

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  • So many ever changing priorties can cause the nurse to give up...

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  • Yeah i wish people would understnad that probably less than 50% of the patients aren't in fact rude, selfish, demanding or utterly devoid of insanity.

    that is why i make no false 'i care' overtures to the patients i work with.
    I care for them, not about them. they are strangers to me and i don't want to have any involvement in their lives beyond my job.

    As fort that hospital, it merely lacked yound nurses in positions of power.

    Older nurses in particular those god awful MAtrons appear to be nothing more than 'yes women' who simply cannot say no to ridiculous things and as such they utterly fail us and therefore the patient.

    If the Mid-Staffs had a team of Matrons who were forcibly retired at 50 then there would have been no issue because no-one wouldhave allowed for the complacency that 40 years of the same job does.

    Even no there's practically no comment from nurses involved so thanks girls....... solddownthe river tofund your retirement - again!

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  • blimey i would hate to have to be cared by some of the respondents above!
    would seem the only place nurses care about their jobs is in the private sector... maybe its the lower pay and longer hours makes one care more... least thats my observation... those in the NHS are spoiled... accruing holidays while on holiday or sick leave, up to six months full pay if on sick leave followed by half pay for a futher six months and heck you get your professional fees covered too... lets not forget the lovely pension package at the end of your career... the private sectors are a lot less generous towards nurses and other staff... about time NHS staff stopped complaining and were grateful for all they have got

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  • oh give over.
    what we post here is no representation of how we are as nurses.

    you voted for patent liars in the last election. feel stupid now???

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  • poor attitudes towards work ethic, care for patients, towards visitors, colleagues, students, and towards life in general are unaccepatble in nursing. Attitudes of management in any organisation and especially the NHS or other healthcare or service organisation are also highly influential. Positive, caring and professional attitudes should be a condition of entering the NMC register and maintaining registration throughout a nursing career to ensure such failures in care, training of students and in the valued reputation of the profession never occur.

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