The Royal College of Nursing has raised concern that nurses’ morale and public confidence in the NHS could be undermined by the examples of poor care highlighted today by the Patients Association.
Poor care is “completely unacceptable” but the examples in the Patients Association report must not be allowed to overshadow the vast majority of good quality healthcare given to millions of patients every day, the college said.
Responding to the report, which contains 16 first hand accounts of care, RCN general secretary Peter Carter said: “The level of care described by these families is completely unacceptable, and we will not condone nurses who behave in ways that are contrary to the principles and ethics of the profession. However we believe that the vast majority of nurses are decent, highly skilled individuals.
“This is reflected in the fact that the last survey of patients by the Care Quality Commission found that over 90 per cent rated the care they received as good, very good or excellent.”
Mr Carter said the Patients Association report was based on the two per cent of patients who feel their care was unacceptable.
“Two per cent is too many but we are concerned that this might undermine the public’s confidence in the world class care they can expect to receive from the NHS. Furthermore it could also dampen the morale of the millions of staff who work tirelessly to help their patients.”
Also responding to the report, the Nursing & Midwifery Council said poor care is “never acceptable”.
In a statement, the NMC said: “We recognise that most nurses and midwives are caring people and want to deliver high standards of care. Since its launch in March 2009 we’ve have requests for over 200,000 copies of our guidance for the care of older people and the public leaflet Care and respect everytime.
By working in partnership with employers and members of the public we’ll be able hold to account those whose practice puts people at risk.”