Monday, 15 October 2007

Where did all the nurses go?

The reports that have appeared about Maidstone hospital have been utterly shocking. Many months ago I wrote that bed cuts were adding to C-dif mortality rates but I have struggled over the past few days to understand why nursing standards appeared so low.

Until I looked at the numbers.

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust
Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting Staff

2004/5 1,722 2005/6 1,543 2006/7 1,420

Thats a 20% cut in nursing staff in two years. From a hospital that claimed "cuts would be made by reducing use of bank and agency staff" How many times have we heard that across the country?

As one nurse has blogged recently "My ward is 35 beds general surgery, general medical, high dependency as well as 10-15 care of the elderly beds. We get one nurse and one or 2 assistants. Five years ago it was 4 and 3 and all the patients were taken care of." I know its more complicated than this but I would like to know what has happened to nurse/bed ratios across the country.


Mountjoy said...

Gordon poured all that money into the NHS, but the Labour backbenchers and ideologues blocked the reform of the NHS that Blair et al promised.

In an unreformed NHS where the money disappears into a black hole, and where so much money is squandered on bureaucracy, managers, "away days" etc, it is no wonder that frontline services get cut and people die as a result.

Rachel Joyce said...

Nursing standards have declined as well as numbers.
We get excellent specialist nurses these days, but we don't have basic nursing taught so much - speak to any nurse who trained before project 2000 and they will agree.
The other big issue is that there is no one person on each ward actually responsible for hygeine and cleanliness and infection rates