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Staffing levels crucial to dignity and respect for patients


Maintaining safe staffing levels is crucial to ensuring hospital patients are treated with dignity, according to the Royal College of Nursing in Wales.

The college elaborated on its opinion in a submission to a review on dignity and respect in hospitals being carried out by Ruth Marks, the older people commissioner for Wales.

RCN Wales director Tina Donnelly said: “Many patients’ perceptions of compassion, kindness and dignity is related to healthcare workers having enough time to communicate with them.”


Readers' comments (16)

  • Are they just realising this now?

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  • This is a wind up...right???

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  • thats funny! I worked a late shift as the Staff Nurse in charge with 1 agency nurse for 16 elderly dependant patients. 1 of my nurses had to go off sick, and we were 1 nurse short anyway. The management were consulted regarding the situation, and felt that 2 trained nurses and 3 HCA's, 1 of which was from an Agency, were sufficient for 31 patients on the unit! 1 patient had a fall. she was unhurt but it was unavoidable due to the low level of staff. it will never change though

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  • Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!! Oh, this isn't a joke? They've finally realised this have they? And the contender for the 'No shit Sherlock award' goes too...

    What a bunch of morons. We all know this, some of us have been screaming from the rafters till our voices are hoarse for years! Noone listens.

    When is this going to be enshrined in law?

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  • Tina Donnelly, hang your head in shame. Is this the best you and the RCN can do? And how much is the review costing? Just go to any ward in the country and speak to the nurses - not the managers! - promise that you won't rat on them if they tell you the truth and listen to what they have to tell you. They are on their knees and screaming for safe staffing levels. Isn't it about time we all stopped paying Unison/RCN et al? Seems to me that they are really not fit for purpose.

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  • Nurses have been complaining about this for years even worse because of working times directives which those in Europe says we should abide by which says nurses are only allowed to work 48 hours a week, some Trusts have now implemented this. The situation now is staff who retire or left are not replaced hence the use of more agency nurses, but at times the quality of nurses are so poor pernament staff end up doing the work of 3 people, also have to catch up on paper work hence working extra hours for no extra pay, telling those in management the need for more flexibility in working hours(overtime/agency/bank) so that regular staff can come to work inturn making the ward safer patients are better looked after, falls on deaf ears. As usual no one listens to frontline staff until it is too late.

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  • I could'nt agree more ! We keep hearing that' staffing levels' is a major RCN policy and yet to date we are still having to read this drivel. If the RCN really wants to maintain its membership it is going to have come out of its ivory tower and start listening to the people who are paying £16 a month "in these difficult times "
    How often has this been debated at congress ?I read this nonsense sent to me regarding influencing government policy well over to you my RCN reps ,go on make (like other countries ) a safe minimum level mandatory throughout the UK.
    What is really sad is you don't need a paper submitted to another ineffectual review,you just need to ask any relative waiting "just a minute " what they think regarding staffing levels and the care we are trying to maintain

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  • No one has seen the point here. Dignity.... Stop bleating on about staffing levels. They have been poor since time immemorial. BUT we always mainatained our patients dignity, no matter what.

    Patient care in terms of quality and standards is falling, so who is responisible for that...NURSES...

    I can only assume that poor education, lack of caring personalities and empathy for fellow human beings is responsible.

    The only point, to some some comments above, I would agree with is that the Rcn is somewhat detatched from reality and that most nurses maintain their membership for indemnity insurance only.

    I wait with baited breath...

    and Mike...if you want to be looked upon as a professional...clean up your language.

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  • Anonymous 11:37,

    Staffing levels are much worse these days.

    We have lower ratios of trained RN's and higher ratios of utnrained carers staffing the wards presently. This is mostly do to trust recruitment freezes on qualified staff.

    Patients today are more acutely ill, their length of stays are shorter, the population is aging and every ward is geriatric as well as acute. This means that the few qualified nurses around are dealing with increasingly complex cases and orders in a short amount of time. The older nurses I work with who have been on the job for decades say that it has never been this bad. And they cannot handle the load any better than the few newly qualifieds can. It is just impossible. Ward Nurses are increasingly doing the job of the hospital social workers (who management got rid of ages ago) pharmacy (who are also short staffed), doctors (who we barely see because they are short staffed) etc. We are refused a ward clerk and have to do that as well. The sole RN on duty has to answer the phone everytime it rings or else. It sucks.

    There is no nursing leadership and many wards are run by junior staff nurses. People who are paid as junior staff nurses may be RNs who qualified 25 years ago or 5 months ago. When the ward sister quits or retires management doesn't replace her and refuses to promote anyone. They think that this is a cost saving measure.

    Currently, the vast majority of Nurses in the UK are older and trained long before university education of Nurses became standard. The vast,vast, majority of registered nurses staffing the wards right now trained in the 70's and 80's.

    So if education is the problem then we should be blaming the old time training.

    And let me show you my professionalism by exclaiming that Tina Donnelly is either stupid as sh*t or mad as a f*cking hatter.

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  • By the way anonymous 11:37 how long as it been since you have been the only qualified nurse on duty on a 28 bed ward with dependent geriatric patients, acute medical patients, and patients who should be in ITU with multiple drips etc?

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