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Nurses beat weather once again to get to patients


Nurses in the midlands have been asked to volunteer for extra shifts, and 4x4 drivers have been asked to come forward to get them to work, as severe winter weather continues to hit the NHS.

Nurses working at Worcestershire Royal, Kidderminster and Alexandra hospitals were among nurses around the country who were asked to work wherever they could get to, even if it was not their usual hospital, after the latest heavy snow at the weekend.

A spokeswoman for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust, which runs the three hospitals, said 4x4 drivers had also been asked to volunteer to get nurses to hospitals on Saturday and Monday when heavy snow hit the area.

“People have been very generous with their time, and it’s amazing where a 4x4 can get when other vehicles can’t,” she said.

“One driver volunteered to spend all day with a midwife so that she could make essential visits around the area.”

Elsewhere, the social networking site Twitter was used to identify 4x4 and tractor drivers who could help transport nurses. One nurse from the East Surrey Hospital was transported to provide antibiotics to an elderly patient in a rural area following a Twitter appeal.

Nurses have been sleeping at work, including those from Colchester General Hospital in Essex, who spent the night in an empty ward because they were unable to get home after the snow hit on Saturday night. Others worked double shifts.

Royal College of Nursing chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter said nurses were doing all they could to get to work, and to deal with the increased workload caused by the harsh weather.

However, he warned: “We know hospital wards are often running at near full capacity all year round, so when you add a cold spell into the mix, this can push hospitals and staff to the limit.”

The RCN Direct call centre, in Cardiff, was forced to close on Monday because staff were unable to get to work.


Readers' comments (6)

  • And this at a time they are cutting our pay, threatening us with job cuts and scrapping our increments?

    They can sod right off!

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  • Its dedication like this that should be rewarded and recognised, not just by lipservice by in real terms of increased remuneration and flexibility.

    Threats, job + pay cuts just gets everyone nowhere.

    If politicians are advocating cuts, I suggest that they start by making 10-20% cuts first and show everyone how to lead by example. Then start with the people who earn far more than the average person before picking on frontline staff, low paid workers and students.

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  • May as well be taken fully advantage of prior to be dumped on from a great height with pay cuts and redundancies !

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  • I haven't seen many shops, or banks, or GP surgeries, or fast food outlets, or florists, or estate agents, or churches, or petrol stations, or fire stations, or police stations, or military bases, or even Royal palaces closed due to staff not being able to get in. The only transport infrastructure truly affected by the weather in any reasonable scale are some of our airports. Now if nurses flew to work I could get excited about (the otherwise much maligned) 4x4s ferrying midwives around - but so far as I know it isn't the case.
    We have to accept that Snow Happens now, and the sooner we do that, the quicker we'll get a perspective on things.

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  • And so, dedication to the job is to be rewarded with pay freezes and threats of job cuts.

    This is so wrong.

    I think we be working for a bank where abysmal performance and wrecking the country's finance system for everyone means we'd still be rewarded with huge bonuses.

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  • Nurses always try to do their best for patients, unlike headteachers who close schools after 10 snow flakes and award them selves and their staff many days off on full pay - not to mention compromising the education of children and teaching them it is OK to not bother if there's a bit of adverse weather conditions

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