The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have said it is unacceptable that nurses are being forced to treat patients in non clinical areas in order to meet targets, following a major Nursing Times survey.
In the survey of more than 900 Nursing Times readers, two thirds said patients were routinely being treated in areas not designed for clinical care, for example additional beds being put in bays that were full and patients being treated in storage cupboards, corridors and in one case a kitchen (news, page 1-3, 9 March).
Some nurses said they were told the areas had to be used so their hospital could admit patients, and meet the target to see 98 per cent of A&E patients within four hours of arrival.
Conservative shadow health minister Anne Milton said the findings were “truly shocking”. She said: “Nurses must be free to make decisions about where and when to treat people on clinical grounds. They should not be forced into treating people in cupboard or a kitchen just to meet Labour’s bureaucratic targets.”
Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb said: “Labour’s failure to put patient care above its obsession with targets has meant that nurses are being forced to treat people in completely inappropriate places.
“Labour seems to have lost sight of the basic importance of dignity and care. A mop cupboard is no place to treat a patient.”