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RCN: some of the issues highlighted by CQC 'go beyond nursing'

  • 6 Comments

Nurses must be “leaders” in changing attitudes towards older people in society, the Royal College of Nursing has said in response to a critical report from the Care Quality Commission.

The CQC today published the overall findings of its spot checks on dignity and nutrition standards, carried out earlier this year at 100 hospitals. The report suggested half of hospitals were failing to provide all-round good nutrition to older patients while 40% did not offer sufficiently dignified care.

Responding to the CQC report into dignity and nutrition for older people, RCN executive director of nursing and service delivery Janet Davies described the examples highlighted as “deeply troubling [and] indeed shocking”.

She said every nurses was “personally accountable for their own practice and must act promptly to raise concerns if staffing levels or other pressures are getting in the way of delivering good care”. 

She also said managers “must take responsibility”, noting that decisions about staff numbers employed, the availability of senior clinical nurses and the overall ethos of the hospital were “not issues that can be delegated”.

However, Ms Davies added: “Some of this goes beyond nursing, and is related to the overall attitude of society towards older people and their needs and dignity. It must be recognised that as a nation, the population is getting older and our attitudes have to recognise and embrace this.

“Nurses can and should be leaders in developing the right attitudes and ensuring that all older people are treated with respect and kindness both in healthcare and in the rest of their lives.”

Also commenting on the CQC report, Unison head of health Christina McAnea said: “Poor quality leadership, under-resourcing or managers putting business before patient care, all contributes to failures.

“More regular inspection of management must be a priority. We know that some care staff are working in a culture of fear and intimidation.

“Staff must have the freedom to say when they aren’t coping, or need more resources, without being threatened. Care workers must know that their concerns will be taken seriously,” she added.

  • 6 Comments

Readers' comments (6)

  • Haha! The RCN lecturing US on leadership! The irony!

    "She said every nurses was “personally accountable for their own practice and must act promptly to raise concerns if staffing levels or other pressures are getting in the way of delivering good care”. "

    WE HAVE BEEN DOING!!!!! Are you all deaf at the RCN or do you have selective hearing? Do you not read some of the comments on here or listen to your members? (As if I need ask!) Did you not hear the collective call for a ballot on strike action so we could raise these issues? Of course you heard it, you just ignored it!

    It is easier to blame Nurses and put the responsibility on us than take it yourself, isn't it?


    "She also said managers “must take responsibility”, noting that decisions about staff numbers employed, the availability of senior clinical nurses and the overall ethos of the hospital were “not issues that can be delegated”."

    So why aren't you at the RCN reminding them and the government much more vigorously of this responsibility? Ah, that's right. Easier to blame us.




    However, I do agree with you about our attitude toward the elderly as a nation. It could improve immeasurably. Just compare us for example to many SE Asian countries such as Malaysia where Nursing homes aren't even heard of! They look after their family elders themselves on the whole, they have a culture of doing so. BUT what exactly do you expect Nurses to do about that?

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  • Steve Williams

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  • michael stone

    '“Staff must have the freedom to say when they aren’t coping, or need more resources, without being threatened'

    I think that is what this comes down to, to a significant extent - the dragging of the core issues into the daylight, so that the true relative significance of staffing levels, staff attitudes, box-ticking culture (or box ticking idiocy, depending on your point of view), etc, can be properly assessed.

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  • Clinical time needs to be protected. The onus needs to be on anyone who delegates non clinical work to a clinician to show that this will not detract from patient care. We seem to be in some sort of silly season in terms of all the things we are being asked to do now and to be at the beck and call of so many departments who wish to give work away and have no qualms in 'getting the nurses to do it'. Loan stores, training, HR to mention a few who seem to have forgotten that their role is to support us - not the other way around. Problems occur and its the poor nurse at the frontline who is seen as the failure. Anyone who reports a nurse for poor care will find a sympathetic ear - well its a chance to downgrade! Any nurse who complains about changes affecting care is told they are out of date and under threat of downgrading if they don't 'embrace' the change! We are definitely in a loose loose situation.

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  • We do raise issues with our matrons about staffing levels frequently and we are told you are not the only area in the trust and everyone has to manage on these numbers why cant you - 2 trained and 2 untrained with 3 theatre lists running and trauma coming in as well as elected. The other standard reply is to 'fill in an incident form' which is now electronic and takes more than 10 precious minutes to do so as a 'caring' nurse i dont have time to do that because of the impossibility of getting through my work load giving 120% every shift as others say for no breaks, no drinks and pure exhaustion all for endless criticism from those above who bombard us with audits and more paperwork. We need more staff on the floor as simple as that.

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  • michael stone

    Anonymous | 14-Oct-2011 10:32 pm

    I'm not entirely sure it is your matrons with whom the staffing issue needs to be raised - try the Chief Executive, because you need to get above the level at which staff are 'distributed' to the level where staff numbers are decided. And you need to raise such issues as a unified group, to prevent any 'comeback/persecution'.

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