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Round-up of last month’s main workforce and policy news affecting UK nurses

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Miss any of the news affecting the profession during December? Catch up with our summary of the main nursing headlines.

 

Exclusive: Lack of drinks leaving dementia patients ‘vulnerable’

Hydrated residents have better appetites because they are more alert

Hydrated residents have better appetites because they are more alert

Patients with dementia are being given few opportunities to drink water on wards and in accident and emergency departments in London, leaving them “extremely vulnerable”, a review has found.

“It is imperative that people with dementia in hospital receive adequate nutrition and hydration”

Report authors

Senior nurses, who peer reviewed care at six of the capital’s acute trusts, found it was not uncommon to see patients without fresh water or cups in reach.

“These patients were not able to ask for a drink or ask for help and were therefore extremely vulnerable,” said a report on the review, set up by NHS England’s dementia clinical network in London.

In A&E, leftover food and cold cups of tea were noted as a “particular issue”, it said. Due to staff shortages in A&E, unless volunteers were on hand, it was sometimes not possible for patients’ hydration and nutritional needs to be “adequately” met, stated the report shared with Nursing Times.

It added that, while ward meal times were well supervised, few patients were supported to drink outside of these periods. Patients also appeared to have not been asked about their preference for using either a cup, beaker, or beaker with lid.

Those behind the review stressed they had witnessed “excellent” care, particularly by nurses, but said trust chief nurses needed to address problems with poor access to drinks outside of meal times. They also highlighted that most patients with dementia were attending A&E unaccompanied.

“It is imperative that people with dementia in hospital receive adequate nutrition and hydration. This needs to be considered 24 hours per day and throughout the hospital, including the emergency department and be personalised,” they said.

 

Leading nurses and midwives made dames in 2018 honours list

Hilary Chapman

Hilary Chapman

Hilary Chapman

Three new dames are among nearly 20 members of the nursing and midwifery professions recognised for their achievements in the 2018 new year’s honours list.

Hilary Chapman, chief nurse of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust, and recently retired former Royal College of Midwives chief executive Cathy Warwick become dames, as does former nurse Jackie Daniel, chief executive of University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation Trust.

Meanwhile, Hilary Garratt, NHS England’s director of nursing and deputy chief nursing officer, has received a CBE. A further three members of the profession received OBEs, six received MBEs and five were given the British Empire Medal. They include cancer nurse specialists, practice nurses, a senior prison nurse and a nursing entrepreneur.

Chief nursing officer for England Professor Jane Cummings congratulated recipients for their “leadership, dedication and hard work”.

 

Blue plaque unveiled to honour pioneering nurse leader

University of Gloucestershire

Blue plaque unveiled to honour pioneering nurse leader

Blue plaque at 11 Tivoli Road

A blue plaque was unveiled last month in Cheltenham to celebrate the life and work of Dame Sidney Browne, the first president of the Royal College of Nursing. The plaque unveiling ceremony took place at 11 Tivoli Road where Dame Sidney lived during her retirement until her death in 1941.

 

NHS winter crisis must spark ‘fundamental review’, says RCN

janet davies

janet davies

There needs to be a comprehensive review of health and social care in response to the current NHS winter crisis, according to Royal College of Nursing chief executive and general secretary Janet Davies. On 4 January, she warned that hospitals were at “bursting point” and under-investment in nurse staffing over several years had now become a “full-blown crisis”. “There needs to be a fundamental review of the sort of health and social care we want in this country,” she said.

 

First 2,500 nursing associate apprenticeships to start by spring

Health Education England

Ian Cumming

Ian Cumming

A total of 2,500 nursing associates are expected to begin apprenticeship training in England early this year, followed by more in the autumn. The government previously announced 5,000 people would begin on programmes in 2018. Health Education England’s chief executive Ian Cumming said last month that half of the group was expected to begin by April and the remaining 2,500 by September.

 

Starting gun fired on nurse pay and contract change talks

Money

Starting gun fired on nurse pay and contract change talks

New and old pound coins

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has written to the NHS pay review body triggering the start of talks on wage increases for nurses, alongside potential contract changes. The letter, sent on 7 December, states that, while extra funding will be provided for a pay rise for 2018-19, it is on the understanding that there will be reforms to Agenda for Change.

 

RCN leaders tell activists ‘now is not the time for strike ballot’

Royal College of Nursing

Rally gallery: The Westminster pay protest in pictures

Royal College of Nursing leaders have told union activists they believe they are “making headway” in efforts to boost nurse pay and that “now is not the time” to ballot over strike action. They were replying to a group of campaigners who had criticised them over their stance on pay. In November, the activists published an open letter, calling the RCN’s response to the budget as “underwhelming”.

 

Pay rises above 1% revealed for nursing staff in Scotland budget

Pay

Pay

The Scottish government has revealed its draft financial plans for the next financial year, including pay rises above 1% for nursing staff and confirming the continuation of bursaries for student nurses. From the start of the next financial year in April, it will see a 3% pay rise for all earning less than £30,000 and 2% for all those earning more than £30,000.

 

Trusts urged to ‘think imaginatively’ to retain nursing staff

NHS Improvement

Nurses told to use A&E checklist to ‘ensure safety over winter’

Trusts have been urged to think about whether they can do more to improve clinical staff retention rates, especially for nurses and mental health workers. New guidance from NHS Improvement outlines seven essential steps that every trust should take to improve staff retention.

 

Registered nurse vacancy levels ‘rising in NHS in England’

job advert nursing

job advert nursing

The number of registered nurse vacancies in the NHS in England is rising and could have exceeded 40,000, according to estimates by the Labour Party. It cited figures showing that 12.2% of posts were empty at 82 trusts in March – equal to 15,346. If the same proportion of jobs were unfilled across all 229 trusts in England, there would be shortage of 42,855 full-time nurses, said the party.

 

Survey paints picture of ‘demoralised, overworked nursing staff’

Ohio State University

Depression in nurses ‘increases likelihood of making errors’

The majority of nurses feel there are simply not enough staff to meet patients’ needs, according to a survey carried out for the Royal College of Nursing. The survey, of 7,720 RCN members, found 79% felt staffing levels where they worked were insufficient to meet patient needs, up from 56% in 2007.

 

UK’s largest private hospital firm planning to shrink workforce

BMI The Kings Oak Hospital

BMI The Kings Oak Hospital

BMI The Kings Oak Hospital

The Royal College of Nursing is in talks with the country’s largest private hospital chain over plans to cut staffing levels amid other workforce changes affecting its 59 sites. BMI Healthcare is considering reducing temporary labour, removing long-term unfilled vacancies, rostering changes, natural jobs wastage and redundancies in some places. It is also proposing new establishment figures for its sites.

 

Cornish health visiting services threatened with council cuts

Cornwall

Cornish health visiting services threatened with council cuts

Cornish flag

Cornish health visiting is facing a bleak future, unions have warned after Cornwall Council announced a £419,000 cut to the service in 2018. All vacancies in the county have been frozen and staff retiring in 2018 are unlikely to be replaced. No redundancies are planned but existing staff will be under more pressure, said Unite. The council blamed ongoing reductions to national funding.

 

Nurses to be ‘first responders’ to 999 calls for elderly falls

Durham

Durham

Durham

Senior community nurses are being sent as “first responders” to some 999 calls in County Durham, after long waits for ambulances have left older people lying on the floor in pain. The move, introduced during the first week of January, sees community matrons offering support and pain relief to older patients who have fallen and cannot be reached by an ambulance in less than an hour.

 

Nurses still outrank doctors as ‘most trusted profession’

NHS Improvement

Nurses told to use A&E checklist to ‘ensure safety over winter’

Nursing is still the most trusted profession by the public, according to an Ipsos MORI survey, which found 94% of respondents would trust nurses to tell the truth – slightly up on 93% last year. Nurses rank above doctors, teachers, scientists, judges and the police, according to the annual survey of nearly 1,000 people aged 15 and over, carried out in October.

 

History of learning disability nursing focus of ‘unique’ study

calendar

calendar

 

The development of learning disability nursing in England and Ireland over the past 30 years is to be explored in a project looking at workforce sustainability. Staff are being asked to share their experiences with researchers from the University of West London, Trinity College Dublin and the Royal College of Nursing.

 

court judge

The High Court has upheld the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s position in a long-running dispute over indemnity arrangements for independent midwives. A senior judge agreed with the NMC last month that indemnity arrangements previously relied upon by some members of Independent Midwives UK was inappropriate. The midwives had been applying for a judicial review.

 

Specialist nurses celebrate new royal patron for children’s charity

Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity

Specialist nurses celebrate new royal patron for children’s charity

Young patients with HRH the Duchess of Cornwall and a Welsh Guardsman

Five specialist nurses visited Clarence House last month with some of their young patients to celebrate HRH the Duchess of Cornwall becoming royal patron of Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity. Roald Dahl nurses Janet Tuberville-Greenley, Giselle Padmore-Payne, Jo Campbell, Trish Bell and Helen Webster care for children with conditions including severe epilepsy, sickle cell anaemia and haemophilia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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