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Baroness backs RCN’s calls for mandatory nurse staffing levels

  • 9 Comments

The House of Lords will vote today on the government’s Health and Social Care bill, following a two-day debate involving 100 peers.

Votes on the bill’s second reading are due at around 2.30pm. The Lords will also vote on two proposed amendments: one, tabled by Lord Rea, would block the bill; another, from Lord Owen, would place sections on the duty of the Secretary of State and other legal accountabilities into a special committee, which would then scrutinise those parts in more detail.

However health minister Earl Howe said the move would subject the bill to potentially “fatal” delays, and wrote to all peers yesterday asking them to vote down Lord Owen’s amendment.

Two speakers placed nursing at centre stage. Baroness Emerton said the Royal College of Nursing “is already reporting large reductions in numbers of staff, which are not being replaced by nursing posts, and that specialist nurses are being redeployed from their nursing posts to do other duties.”

She backed the RCN’s calls for mandatory nurse staffing levels and ratios.

Baroness Masham said heathcare assistants are “often dressed up in uniforms that make them indistinguishable from nurses”.

She also cited research from King’s College, London which showed there are “no consistent UK-wide training standards” for HCAs. She said: “Assistant practitioners undertake more complex tasks than healthcare assistants, but again there is no training consistency across the UK… both often undertake tasks for which they are not trained.”

She called for registration of HCAs to be made mandatory, adding: “The lack of regulation means that employment as a support worker may be obtained by people who have been dismissed from a previous healthcare post for misconduct, or who have been struck off the register as a nurse or a midwife.”

During yesterday’s debate Baroness Shirley Williams, an influential Liberal Democrat critic of the said ministers would not carry the public of England with them if it seemed the NHS was being moved “away from the concept of an altruistic health service to one that is essentially money-based”.

Baroness Glenys Thornton warned that the bill would turn “patient choice into shopping” and make healthcare “a traded commodity”, and appealed to the house not to be “panicked, bullied or browbeaten”.

However other Labour peers said they would vote against Lord Owen’s proposals. Former health minister Lord Warner said the bill should be passed quickly, and that there was a “slug of truth” in government claims that it only continued reforms begun in the Blair government.

Former health minister Lord Darzi, who carried out a review of the NHS for Gordon Brown, issued a plea for policymakers to show leadership said the NHS “must embrace change” because “to stand still is to fall back”.

 

  • 9 Comments

Readers' comments (9)

  • With any luck, the Health Bill will be held up indefinitely in select committees.

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  • I hope so too for all our sakes!

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  • tinkerbell

    Good old Baroness Emerton and Baroness Masham, go girls! Good on ya Lord Owen, put as many spanners in the works as you can and create 'fatal' delays to this 'them & us' bill. Let's keep going round in ever decreasing circles until this government is kicked out. They only got in by default anyway. As I heard Liam Gallagher said there was no where on the vote that he voted on for a 'coalition government'. Here, here. Think he said he voted for the 'pirate party'. No worse than what we've got now a bunch of pirates in disguise robbing us blind of OUR NHS. Even if you voted this shower in, get over it and jog on and make sure you never vote for them again, because they have lied, lied, lied their way into government. 'Safe in our hands' or whatever load of old spin they had going at the time. The 'big society' my derriere.

    Heck, our housekeepers are dressed up as staff nurses where we work, (think they had too many uniforms left over from lack of staff nurse recruitment).

    This government lacks integrity, intelligence, honesty and any moral compass, their days are numbered until the next election and they know it. The lib dems sold out and they know it. This country should be angry, righteously so. What the tories are doing is an absolute disgrace to any society. Their so called big society seems to involve all the working classes & public sector workers being unemployed. Save them some money to get rid of the public sector entirely. Cheaper to have us on the dole than pay us a wage to provide a quality service for ALL. Firemen, nurses, ambulance drivers, police, armed forces all down the drain. Boo! Boo! Boo! to you Tories and lib dem puppets/turncoats. Going to stop now but Boooooooooo!

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  • HERE HERE tinkerbell!!!! I really hope this goes our way! Although being a junior staff nurse I fear I may be being a liitle naive.

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  • tinkerbell

    Anonymous | 12-Oct-2011 3:24 pm

    Better to be naive than bitter, twisted and cynical. Better to fight for a cause you believe in however naive than just not bother at all. You might just win. Better to have a dream and not see it fulfilled than never have a dream. Maybe i am naive also in thinking we can get anywhere with this but i would rather that than be bitter and twisted and just moaning on and on all the time and not doing anything about it and telling others its 'hopeless, we can't do anything about it'. What kind of a world would we live in if Martin Luther King and other great men and women took that attitude. Bet they got told they were 'naive' too, didn't stop them though, thank God.

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  • tinkerbell

    Time to kiss goodbye to the NHS, they voted in the bill. 40 of them apparently have involvement in private medical companies.

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  • tinkerbell

    unemployments gone up again, highest its been in 17 years, last time the tories were in.

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  • Aaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggggggggggghhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    How can that vote be considered legal when there are so many vested interests?

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  • tinkerbell

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/health-news/2011/10/12/nhs-reforms-d-day-40-peers-have-financial-interest-in-nhs-privatisation-mirror-investigation-shows-115875-23482784/

    Wheeling, dealing, lying, cheating, treacherous, greedy, devious, unprincipled, nasty ...................................

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