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'Cuts to posts may hinder the PM’s plans for care'


The prime minister’s call to reduce the amount of paper-work so that nurses have time to care is of course joyous news.

Mr Cameron is going to give nurses more time to check if John is in pain, more time to take Rosie to the toilet and to talk to Peter about his anxieties. What’s not to like?

Well if you have more regular checks on patients, then you’ll need more nurses to do it. While trusts are slashing nursing numbers it’s not going to be easy to keep up with the present list of tasks. I’ve read hundreds of comments on Twitter, spoken to nurses and noted the comments on our website. No nurse prefers to fill in a form rather than talk to a patient. But in all cases, they recognise that they need to be properly resourced to ensure that they can “reset the approach to healthcare”.

The government’s idea is that it will achieve this by encouraging remaining trusts to take up the Productive Ward programme by April 2013, helping nurses to release time to care just as has been achieved in over 60% of acute trusts, and a Nursing Quality Forum will road test and roll out what’s working in hospitals. But news that there will also be patient inspections of hospitals, a friends and family test and intentional rounding will send many senior nurses running to their keyboards to thrash out reports on how much of these proposals they already do, what they can implement by when and what the likely impact will be. However, the government is at least acknowledging that a lot of nursing is great (take note, tabloid press). It’s recognising initiatives such as Productive Ward are worth supporting and it’s stating that nurse leadership is essential - something that, hopefully,will elevate nursing’s position in the multidisciplinary team.

Follow me on Twitter @nursingtimesed


Chat live with the editor and other nurses at every Wednesday at 1pm about this column.


Readers' comments (4)

  • This 'less pointless paperwork' thing, and related issues, apparently partly comes from the claim (I suppose backed up by some observations) that whereas handovers take an hour in some places, they are accomplished in 20 minutes in others. With an implication, that 40 minutes could be uselfully saved, for other 'direct patient care' involvements.

    But the problem with slashing pointless paperwork, lies in the definition of which paperwork is pointless - clinicians and managers, might not be in agreement, there.

    In any event, anything which leads to better care by means of 'working cleverer' would get my vote - 'working harder' doesn't, as that is not the same as 'being more efficient'. And the 'unnecessary paperwork', partly exists because many people want a paper-trail which can be used for defensive, back-covering, purposes, at a later time, if a mistake appears to heve been made.

    This is nice in theory, but achieving it within a large organisation as complex as the NHS, is tricky !

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  • "Well if you have more regular checks on patients, then you’ll need more nurses to do it. While trusts are slashing nursing numbers..."

    what's the point? we are just going round and round in the same old circles like a stuck gramaphone record with these old arguments.

    Please can we now change the tune and seek something more innovative instead of repeatedly parroting the PM who is not a professional nurse and has demonstrated he has very little knowledge, understand or insight into the profession?

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  • we have too many articles on the same old theme and it is getting very boring. now action is needed and not just more empty words. on the wards were are well aware of the problems without being continuously reminded, and especially by the popular press.

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  • The answer Mr cameron might not want to hear would be to enforce a legal ratio of patients to registered nurse. Some incentive to provide this might be partially offered by an article in Medscape where a patient essentially arrived with a chest infection for treatment and due to understaffing suffered an arrest that left her completely dependant for 24 hr care. The patient interestingly enough NEVER pursued the nursing or medical staff looking after her directly for legal redress. She took aim where it mattered - at the hospital management for allowing short staffing to lead to poor care that resulted in her arrest and its long term damage to her and her family.
    But does Mr Cameron read medscape?

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