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Half of NHS staff do not have time to do their job properly, survey says


Almost half of NHS staff say they do not have time to do their job properly, although most are happier with conditions than at this time last year, a study has found.

A poll by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) of almost 160,000 people employed by the service revealed that most thought the NHS was a good place to work, with a larger number planning to stay in their jobs than in 2008 and 2009.

Fewer people said they had been forced to work extra hours and a smaller number reported they felt pressured or had been bullied in the workplace.

But the report added that “there is still some way to go before all staff understand the vision for the NHS and before they are aware of the contribution they can make, both as individuals and as a trust”.

Almost half (46%) of those polled said they did not have enough time to do their job properly or were prevented from doing a proper job due to a lack of staff.

Of 40 key areas, 26 showed improvements from the 2008 survey, two deteriorated and eight remained the same.


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Readers' comments (9)

  • yes i agree but what can we do about the report?

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  • But this report doesn't matter does it? We all know that Nurses or Doctors aren't important. They don't need to be happy or have time to do the jobs as long as they are there to take the blame when someone sues.

    We all know that it is patient satisfaction that is the most important thing don't we? It is much more important that the patient is ecstatic with their private room, big screen TV and waiter service than the fact that the Nurse in charge of their care can actually perform all the little jobs such as treating them and saving their lives.

    I'm sorry I'll stop being sarcastic now.

    I always take these surveys with a pinch of salt anyway. They are always manipulated by management to make the bad areas (such as people wanting to leave and not having time to do jobs) sound a lot better than they are in reality.

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  • I used to work on a small ward with two teams of eight medical elderly patients, we had time to give baths and set their hair, that ward closed and we are now on a hugh ward with the same numbers of staff and not enough time to deliver even the minimal levels of care. We are constantly hounded to speed up discharges and patients regularly bounce straight back in as they werent ready for discharge in the first place, theres no enjoyment in the job anymore just stress

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  • i agree with the comment that we nurses do not have enough time to care. my trust wants to close wards and cut 12hr off the time every admission spends in hospital. discharging patients has now become a priority including doing tto's. the consultant will do ward round on thursday afternoon and decide that x number of patients can go.....try organising discharges and medication before 5.30pm. other patient care is forgotten as long as we meet targets. sound familiar, wait till our trust is audited and the likes of what happened in staffordshire arise. and yes we discharge too early and they then bounse back in. this does not save money in the long run.

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  • A real and regular scenario: two staff nurses and two auxillaries for 28 acutely unwell patients.There are two patients dying, another so acutely unwell that they need ITU (no bed)and one patient having a respiratory arrest. There is also four others requiring at least hourly observations and several severely aggitated/confused patients, who are 'escaping' from the ward, or interfering with equiptment/other pateints.
    Not only do the majority of patients not get the care that they need, sometimes you have to make choices about which dying or acutely unwell patient gets THE care... you have to choose.
    It is the nurses fault if something goes wrong .....especially if everything isn't written down exactly as it happened (LOL) I regularly work two hours 'overtime' and have less than 4 hours sleep. Others work 14 hours wthout a break. It would be so nice to have time to do the job.

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  • staff do understand the vision for the NHS but the reality does not match the dream. staff want to give high quality care and service in a safe and spotless environment. This includes having enough people to do the job. The reality is that this government has made the nhs a results and target driven service and the quality of care is not seen as important. patients are treated like game pieces and bed numbers, not individuals with complex needs. the human factor is continually being ignored. we regularly discharge people too early to make room for those waiting for a bed and our re-admission rate is increasing. cancellations for treatment are rife. there are half the staff doing twice the work at the frontline than a couple of years ago, apart from senior middle managers who run around following each other badgering nursing staff for an update on patient information every 20 mins or so, stopping the nurses caring for the patients. there seem to be far to many chiefs and no-where nearly enough indians. treatment is not given in a timely way. compassion is absent and the operational managers do not care that nursing and medical staff are working many extra hours without pay and no rest or meal breaks. i have many hours of time owed to me with little hope of an opportunity of taking it back, and no thanks for it.there are many disasters waiting to happen, and frontline staff are feeling bullied into just getting on with the job and not complaining for fear of reprimand and punishment. the system will implode if this continues

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  • I work in the community and we have the same pressures as hospital staff. No time to really assess the patients just in and out and onto the next patient. Patients are coming out of hospital too early due to the pressures on wards. Something has to give before more and more errors occur. I regularly work without a lunchbreak and do feel frustrated as I want to do a good job and look after my patents well. We need more staff to perform our jobs properly, but I know this will not happen.

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  • Lunch breaks, tea breaks? What are those haven't had one in years as i'm too busy chasing my tail. To have the time and energy to actually do the job i came into nursing for should be the vision. The NHS has too many upper management that has no idea what the NHS is for or what we as nurses are about. THEY DON'T CARE as we are supposed too, they are driven by results not in patient care but in productivity and cost cutting. the NMC does nothing to protect the public it is supposed to serve. Why? too many doctors employed when it should be nurses from the front line regulating nurses. Why has our registrations increased to annually too many upper management involved on excellent rates of pay. Am i bitter, yes i am and i admit it, every year the thought of paying my registration to a body that is not fit for purpose or speak up for its members or the public. Its a shame we don't have an alternative to the NMC do you think they would listen then.

    A call to all nurses when you have supervision, highlight your concerns about staffing levels and cost cutting exercises on your ability to perform. This will follow up the chain of line management and so on. Until it makes it way to ears of all the Heads of Service and Directors, then they will be accountable for inaction. It is your responsibility to ensure patient safety and care, if you are unable to do so or are hindered in your ability to carry out that care you have to report it. Utilise the chain of command, your professional representatives and union stewards. We are the front line, we are a highly trained professional body, lets make the decision makers and shakers earn their monies for a change. What are Unison, Unite and the RCN etc doing for their members and the public, were are the public demo's or cries for change. Or do the unions only fight for those that will strike and are we merely pawns to pay into their coffers. Yes i get union updates about how effective the nursing is in Haiti. When will i get updates about what they are actually going to do here in the UK, i won't hold my breath...

    Rant over but i feel much better for it, go on join in you know you want to.

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  • I absolutely agree with all the above comments. I am mental health nurse on a busy 25 bedded female acute ward, all with very complex needs. I often stay behind after my shift simply because I haven't the time to complete the many tasks we are expected to do within the allocated shift. We have a revolving door syndrome as so oten many of the patients return to the ward soon after discharge. Many factors could be involved but the main one is time. Since the advent of increased bureaucracies you find much of a nurses time is spent infront of a computer. The Trust also expect us to have protected time with the patients. this involves closing the ward for an hour each week to all non ward staff. Great in theory, but impossible to put in practice. And what makes it impossible, you've guessed it insufficent staffing and appropriate skill mix. I get tired of hearing my self say to patients "Ill be with you in a minute". This must be so soul destroying when you are suffering from an accute mental illness. Such as severe depression to name a few. Sometimes my whole shift is spent dishing out medication, admissions, discharges,doctors ward rounds, then you have to spend hours infront of the computer ensuring risk management plans are completed. Where is the patient in all of this? Where is the nurse? Just a little quality time would make all the difference to that patient. I say to the goverment where is the humanity in all of this bureaucracy. Provide the NHS with more staffing and I mean experienced regular staff, not agency workers who have no interest in the job and are just doing it for the money. Lets stop counting numbers, just because you have 5 staff on duty doesn't always make the appropriate skill mix especially when 3 out of the 5 could be agency workers with limited experience and interest.

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