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Time to care?

A worrying report has been compiled by the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Southampton. This concluded that the vast majority – 86% – of 3000 nurses asked felt unable to perform at least one of their basic duties, including comforting patients on the ward, providing pain management, and fulfilling treatment commitments, or even speaking to patients because of the time pressures of more pressing commitments. This is all apparently due to low staffing levels.

This lack of basic care is leading to patients sustaining what would otherwise be avoidable and unnecessary injury. For example failure to routinely move some patients’ position in bed can lead to the development of pressure sores which can be very debilitating and distressing for the patient concerned and their families and loved ones.

Dr Peter Carter from the RCN has said that ‘cutting nursing posts to save money is a false economy. It leads to poor care which in turn, creates more strain on the system particularly in accident and emergency departments’.

It also leads to litigation (itself a financial drain on the NHS) with patients bringing claims in clinical negligence against the NHS for compensation for the injuries which they might have sustained due to inadequate nursing care.

This is a spiral that must be contained. Our wonderful NHS nurses really must be given the time to care.

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