Rationed to dangerously low levels – “..Nine in 10 of the biggest NHS trusts are below safe staffing levels”.

The collusion of denial of rationing by politicians and administrators continues. Caroline Wheeler reports in The Sunday Times 13th August 2017: Nurse numbers dangerously low – Nine in 10 of the biggest NHS trusts are below safe staffing levels

This is the result of rationing places in nursing to save costs over a short time horizon (4 years or one term of office). The longer term loss of money due to inefficiencies and diminishing standards does not concern today’s politicians. In my own constituency the MP won by a few hundred votes, and is likely to lose the seat next time. An “honest debate” is what the public wants, but all parties are denying them… It does not help that Nurses are “graduates” as the caring side of personal care is excluded from their jobs as they get more senior. And now we are threatened with fewer immigrant nurses…So, it’s going to get worse.

Image result for poor staffing level cartoon

Nearly all England’s 50 biggest hospital trusts are failing to hire enough nurses to ensure patients are safe.
Nine in 10 of the trusts, which oversee 150 hospital sites, are not meeting their own safe staffing targets, according to analysis by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).
The data also suggest nurses are being increasingly replaced by cheaper, unqualified healthcare assistants.
To cope with the shortage of nurses, more than half the largest hospitals (55%) brought more unregistered support staff onto shifts, the figures show. The situation is worse at night, with two thirds (67%) of hospitals using unregistered support staff — which critics claim will lead to higher patient mortality rates.
Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, said patients can pay the “very highest price when the government encourages nursing on the cheap”.

She added: “Nurses have degrees and expert training and, to be blunt, the evidence shows patients stand a better chance of survival and recovery when there are more of them on the ward.”
A separate study of staffing in NHS hospitals, published in the online journal BMJ Open, found that in trusts where registered nurses had six or fewer patients to care for, the death rate was 20% lower than where they had more than 10.
Hospitals have had to publish staffing levels since April 2014 in response to the scandal at Stafford Hospital, where hundreds died from neglect.
The RCN analysis, which calculates the average fill-rate across the month, reveals the worst affected site was the Royal Blackburn Hospital, which had on duty only three quarters of the nurses needed.
According to the RCN there are 40,000 nurse vacancies. Brexit, low morale, the end of bursaries for tuition fees, and the public sector pay freeze have all been blamed.

The Department of Health said: “Just this month we announced an extra 10,000 places for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals by 2020, and there are over 12,500 more nurses on our wards since 2010.”

Image result for poor staffing level cartoon

Comments are legion at the Sunday Times. Here is one..

Stephen G Spencer letter by e-mail

With the culture of bullying so prevalent, pay held so that salaries today are worth less but nurses expenses like others have gone up, and a plainly mad Secretary of State and Department of Health that thought doing away with nurses training bursaries was a good idea, together with all those nurses from EU countries worried about the implications of Brexit for them and their families. No surprise at all. But quite worrying if you do have to go into hospital.

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This entry was posted in A Personal View, NHS managers, Nurses, Rationing, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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