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What are *you* going to do about the poor standard of nursing care in hospitals?

(93 Posts)
tirednurse Wed 28-Sep-11 09:44:38

I've changed my nickname to hide my identity I post on other areas. I am a nurse with nearly 30 years experience. Everybody needs to be aware that the standard of nursing that your family will receive if they are admitted to hospital is is at best sub standard and at worst life threatening. If something is not done soon then the situation will only get worse. Nurses have never been angels but now they are in many cases actually putting patient lives at risk. YOU the general public need to speak out because it could be your mother/father/son in hospital receiving this so called care,

Erebus Wed 07-Nov-12 18:38:49

Indeed, lazeybones

fridayfreedom Wed 07-Nov-12 19:59:28

been reading this with interest after a really crap day at work.
Am working in Community Care mainly with people with dementia and their carers.
It's shit in the community too. Services are being cut back and roles which a few years ago were deemed too specialised for lower bands and HC support workers are now being given out to these roles. I actually work with superb HCSW, but it is still a worry as we are told to supervise this work and no doubt will be held accountable if it goes wrong.
As said before, we need more staff at all levels, but managers , who may not have seen a real life patient because they don't have them where they came from eg Sainsburys!!, are making decisions about how and what services should provide.
Twice I have been told to "lower my standards"!!
Yes there are bad health care workers as in any job but please , there are many more of us trying to do our best and suffering ourselves as a result.
Ask any GP which is the main group of workers on anti-depressants?

AtoZandBackAgain Wed 07-Nov-12 22:51:38

So where do the hospital Consultants feature in all this?

As I patient I have always been placed under the care of a Consultant while in hospital.

Why are they not raising merry hell? Or are they? I would have thought they had a vested interest in ensuring their patients were properly cared for. After all, it looks bad on their statistics if patients die through neglect or get HAIs.

Why do they never see their patients lying in blood-stained sheets or in their own urine, or comment that obs have not been taken at the correct times (as the nurses were too busy with an unrealistic workload) etc etc

Genuinely interested.

TakeMyEyesButNotTheGoat Thu 08-Nov-12 13:57:07

Consultants don't have the power they used to. Certainly not on my ward anyway.

The power and the decisions no longer rest with the Ward Manager, who are skilled nurses btw. Some people don't realise they are ward sisters but have the title of manager.

The power and decision making lies with Senior Nurses or Directorate Managers who have to answer to the Chief Executive.

Senior Nurses/Directorate Managers are clinically trained but have not worked on a ward in years. Our Senior Nurse is supportive though, Directorate Manager- not so much. They are the ones that work with the budgets.

One thing I will say, hopefully without outing myself, two weeks ago we were so short staffed - 2 Q and 2 HCA's. The wardmanager asked for permission to go to agency for one Q staff. Guess what she was told? Be imaginative with your staff because we are not paying for agency!

That's 4 members of staff for 30 elderly, confused and wandering patients.

The people making these decisions have no idea what it is like to work on a ward these days.

TakeMyEyesButNotTheGoat Thu 08-Nov-12 14:01:55

Just read that last post again. I could have shorted it to say that basically, the power and control of staffing levels lies with whoever holds the purse strings.

Not the Consultants, Ward Managers or Nurses.

AtoZandBackAgain Thu 08-Nov-12 21:46:18

Thanks Goat. That was interesting to know. No hope of change in the future then sad

SucksToBeMe Sun 11-Nov-12 15:03:58

This is a great thread.

Nishky Sun 11-Nov-12 15:11:23

I had a recent stay in NHS hospital and it was bloody fantastic. I had a severe asthma attack and for the first 12 hours was absolutely terrified. I then spent two further days on the ward and all the staff were amazing. So kind and caring

I sent an email to the hospital as I am sure they get plenty of dissatisfied ones!!

LineRunner Sun 11-Nov-12 15:14:00

I've been very surprised in various hospitals at just how rude some nurses are allowed to be to patients, for no reason, snapping 'Oh grow up' to patients asking for news on their discharge arrangements, for example.

When I had pre-eclampsia just before having my DD, I was in a maternity ward for three days with a 15 year old girl who was terrified and cried a lot of the time, and not a single member of staff ever came to comfort or support her. Obs and tests frequently went undone.

These events were all over 16 years ago. How can it have got worse?!

merlottits Sun 11-Nov-12 15:53:13

Interesting thread.

I've been qualified 20 years and am now a senior manager having been student nurse, staff nurse and a specialist nurse.

The state of our hospitals and especially nursing is shocking.

Just in the last 3 months my father and I have both been patients and the nursing care has been pretty awful.

My father admitted to a surgical ward with renal colic (kidney stones) one of the most painful things there is. I practically had to sleep by his bed for 4 days until he had surgery as the nurses just would NOT give him the painkillers he needed. They wanted him to manage on paracetamol but he needed stronger stuff. The sheer annoyance and irritation at his complaints of pain. "Mr ...... you really should give the paracetamol a chance" to my father curled up in the foetal position barely able to speak from acute pain.

Myself admitted for cellulitis (arm infection) needed IV antibiotics. Nine doses of IV antibiotics and not ONCE did the nurse return to take down my drip. Each time I had to ring my bell or call out after an hour or so after it finished to be met with eye rolling, tutting and sighing. Not one nurse flushed the cannula after taking the drip down (correct procedure). I felt an utter nuisance.

I despair that someone I know and love will need nursing care.

There are too many managers, too much paperwork/audits/meetings, too much cost-cutting.

MrsConsultant Sun 11-Nov-12 16:21:36

My dh is a consultant in a busy hospital in a challenging/very busy/economically deprived area.

He is in his late fifties, and is of the generation that worked hundreds of hours unpaid overtime for many years in order to qualify and pass post graduate exams.

He works every week day from 8 am to 8 pm. He brings paperwork home and works till 10 or 11 pm every evening. He is on call every fourth week, meaning he works his usual 12 hour day all week, and then the weekend as well. He goes in to the hospital and sees every one of his patients on Saturday and Sunday. This week he has had 4 emergency calls at around 3 or 4 in the morning.

The European Working time directive does not apply to consultants.

Recently the Trust informed all the consultants that they would not be paid for working past 5pm. They have more recently been informed that they must do a ward round at 8 am every day. Nowadays, consultants do not have their own wards - their patients are scattered all over the hospital. It can take a whole day to do a ward round. Quite how the clinics, operations, teaching the students etc is going to be fitted in is a mystery.

There are no longer enough qualified nurses to accompany the ward round, so communication is compromised.

Junior doctors work far shorter hours then their predecessors. The consultants who are qualifying now have around half the experience of DH's generation.

As has already been said, consultants have very little say in what goes on in terms of patient care. Things will only get worse. NHS Trusts are in so much debt just with the PFI initiative, that there is little chance of more money for nursing staff.

MrsConsultant Sun 11-Nov-12 16:42:35

A few years back DH did report a serious drug error made by a nurse. He realised it was probably a combination of staff shortage and delegation of innappropriate tasks, but as the patient could have died, he couldn't ignore it.

He was treated as if he was deliberately undermining/criticising the nursing staff. You can't win.

LineRunner Sun 11-Nov-12 16:57:41

I thought AtoZ's post above was interesting, as are yours, MrsConsultant.

I think more challenge by consultants of nursing care standards can only be a good thing - at the top as well as in the wards.

PFI - don't get me started.

Erebus Tue 13-Nov-12 13:05:31

But consultants can 'challenge' all they like- that won't miraculously conjure up the required number of qualified personnel on a ward, will it? That remark is up there with nursing managers telling coal-face staff who have gone to them saying they are dangerously short-staffed, that they must be 'more imaginative' with their workload management hmm

MrsConsultant Tue 13-Nov-12 18:20:14

When a consultant neurosurgeon can be suspended for weeks for allegedly "stealing" a spoonful of croutons from the staff canteen, requiring several life saving operations to be cancelled, you get a rough idea of just how much respect NHS trusts and their chief executives have for consultants.

Most of them are just watching their backs and hoping to retire asap.

LineRunner Tue 13-Nov-12 19:08:22

I said nursing care standards.

Erebus Tue 13-Nov-12 21:24:01

Mrsconsultant- one I know was suspended for taking a paracetamol or similar from the ward drugs for his own headache.


Though the harsh reality remains, consultants could be both the death or the saviour of the NHS...

MrsConsultant Tue 13-Nov-12 22:34:05

Linerunner - if the consultant, who is technically responsible for diagnosis, treatment and management of the patient, is unable to express an opinion regarding the nursing care of that patient, I wonder who else can?

All that matters are tick boxes and spread sheets. Cost savings are the most important thing in the current climate, not patient care.

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