The broad media today have revealed how Patients are being treated in Mop cupboards or hospital kitchens. In an online survey of more than 900 nurses, nearly two thirds said patients at their hospital were being treated in areas not designed for clinical care.
At the heart of things, nurses are truly worried about access to equipment and infection control. Though patient safety is the central concern, several factors feed into how optimum patient safety is achieved.
First there is something wrong with whistleblowing procedures, as it took the Nursing Times to highlight this problem in an independent survey yesterday. A Department of Health spokesman said:
“It is for local healthcare commissioners and providers to assess the services needed locally to meet the demands of their population.
“However, every nurse must comply with the standards, performance and ethics outlined in the NMC code. In particular, any nurse who is concerned about any risk to their patients should report their concerns to their manager, in writing if necessary”
To advise a nurse concerned with their patients safety to write a letter to their manager is incredulous! Espicially if they had read the report they would have found how ineffective this is. Eighty-three per cent said they had raised it with senior nurses or managers but, of those, only 4 per cent said it had then been stopped. At worst this had resulted in bullying.
And so arise problem number two; concerns about management. Why don’t nurses feel that their managers are approachable or effective? This relates to an article in the HSJ last week reporting a government proposal to give a quality assurance board the power to “stike off” undeperforming managers.
And so enters our third problem; paperwork and assessment. Why solve a assessment problem – with more assessment procedures? After the Mid Staffs scandal laid bare the extent of NHS box ticking, it has become clear that local healthcare commissioners cannot assess themselves. But some thought needs to be given to how to go about this, not setting up something rashly.
The tidal sway to increase assesments, close wards and cut corners is not a long term solution to any required budgetary cuts. Any budgetary cuts need to be sustainable.