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RCN: Mid Staffs should act as warning on staff shortages

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The independent inquiry into serious failings at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust should act as a “siren” across the NHS to show the consequences of focusing on “process over patients”, the RCN has said.

RCN chief executive Peter Carter said  it was “highly inappropriate” that the trust was so firmly focused on achieving  foundation trust status while failing to deal with serious issues, such as poor staffing levels and skill mix.

“The RCN believes individual examples of poor care are indefensible. However, it cannot be right for one nurse to run a whole nightshift on her own with a bank healthcare assistant,” he said

“Just as important as numbers is getting the skill mix right – having untrained staff performing advanced duties is an accident waiting to happen. We believe those in charge throughout this terrible period should be held to account,” he added.

The college said systemic failures and a lack of leadership were responsible for “massive failures in patient care” at the trust. They have called on all political parties to commit to standing up for staff who speak out about poor practice.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Sorry RCN but how long as it taken you to speak out thus.
    We nurses have known this for a long time-we are working with it.
    And you also know that nurses are afraid to speak out for fear of reprisals and that calling on political parties to support informants is a none starter -we have seen that they are only interested in themselves and their finances.Politicians and NHS managers would be afraid to allow nurse grievances to be aired fully as it would show them all in their true colours -easier to silence nurses with fear of loosing their jobs

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  • There has always been literature available on what should be recommended levels of staffing on wards, but what you will find is that like everything else this is not implemented. RCN actually produce these figures but I don't know of any ward that has ever undertaken any suggestions. Nursing and the NHS needs to be taken out of the political arena in order for any progress to be made. We are used as a political tool by all parties, for the most part it is impossible to critisize the NHS as as nurses we are generally crucified for doing so. Someone suggested on here the other day that we need nurses to go in to politics, but personally I feel this is moot as most of the nursing trade unions are Labour in all but name anyway! although I am a member of a trade union I know that I for one will not be voting Labour, I think that they have gone a long way toward privatising the NHS by the back door and standards have gone down further over the years since thay came to power. What have they given us? Agenda for Change - well that has really improved nursing!! not. Oh and let us not forget endless targets that are mainly reached by underhand means on wards with initials for names such as MAU. and where patients are put on to totally inappropriate wards in order to reach targets. It all makes depressing reading, no wonder so many staff are off with depression!!

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