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.