Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Hell in Staffordshire

I am not the least bit surprised. I have seen the effects that targets have on patient care FIRST HAND.

They admit too many patients for the staffing levels to cope with and then everyone acts all surprised when people suffer and die. I have been overwhelmed and tried to refuse admissions to my ward. They came anyway. They dump them anywhere. The make us wake stable patients up at 4AM to move beds so that they can admit an acute patient from a&e onto my ward. Targets might get breached otherwise!!! Bastards.

Listen. Staffordshire is not the only place where this stuff is happening.

Read this excerpt:

A hospital's "appalling" emergency care resulted in patients dying needlessly, the NHS watchdog has said.
About 400 more people died at Stafford Hospital between 2005 and 2008 than would be expected, the Healthcare Commission said.
It said there were deficiencies at "virtually every stage" of emergency care and said managers pursued targets at the detriment of patient care.
Health Secretary Alan Johnson has apologised and launched an inquiry.
One of the worst examples of care cited in the watchdog's report was the use of receptionists to carry out initial checks on patients.
'Complete failure'
Mr Johnson said a review of Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, would be carried out, focusing on the years 2002 to 2007.
He said there would also be an independent review of the trust's emergency care and that he had asked the National Quality Board to ensure the early warning systems for underperformance across the whole NHS were working properly

Read more here

This is also very sad.

"Every single day for four months, myself, my brother or my dad, we visited. We fed her, we tried to clean her when she was left in her own faeces and her own urine.
It was her dignity really. She was left on a bed-pan in agony one day, when I walked into the ward and I could hear her screaming - the nurses were so busy, they'd actually forgotten.
I'm so disappointed that my mum went in there just to be helped.
She'd beaten cancer, she just needed help with her physiotherapy and I trusted them and they let me down bitterly. They let my mum down, they let my family down.
She so wanted to live, at one point she grabbed hold of my hand and said: 'Please, Deb, don't let me die in here."

Read more here

Christ. It actually sounds a hell of a lot worse than my hospital if you can believe that. I have yet to see someone drinking from vases or left on a bedpan for 10 hours.

"The interim chief executive, Eric Morton, said lessons had been learned and that staffing levels had been increased"

What does this asshole mean when he says that staffing levels will be increased? The son of a bitch means that they will recruit a bunch of less than minimum wage paid untrained "nursing cadets" who are not allowed to DO ANYTHING. They will put them in nurses uniforms in nearly the same colour as the qualified nurses. The public will think that the wards are staffed well. That is what this asshole means. These fuckwads NEVER learn their lessons. A cadet is not even near the level of an HCA but that is what we are getting.

At my hospital the nurses' uniform colour is like this and the cadets' uniform colour is like this. And it is only a stripe on otherwise white uniform. Yes they are different colours.


Yorkshire Nurse said...

Sadly, I don't think the UK has the manpower required to even begin to adress the deficiency in RNs.

Assuming that we take 1:6 as a minimum staffing ratio, that means 5 nurses per shift on your standard 30 bedded ward. That's 22.4 whole time equivalent nurses, before you even begin to take into account people being away from the ward due to annual leave, training, sickness etc. And it's roughly double the ratio we currently have on many wards. So that means each ward in the country might be expected to need 12-15 extra nurses.

I have no idea where they're going to come from, but we need them badly!

Cockroach Catcher said...

I did a post and you were in the quotes. Thanks.

The Cockroach Catcher

Happy1 said...

When I worked on the wards the ratio fluctuated between 1:7 and 1:15... The Society of Acute Medicine states that 1:6 is a safe minimum.

Stafford hospital had the same 1:15 ratio. Many nurses were made redundant from the trust in order to meet the target of saving £10million.

There's considerable evidence linking the number of
nurses to standards of care, particularly for
emergency admissions.

Thats not rockets science tho is it??

Nurse Anne said...

Hi Happy and Yorkshire Nurse. Thanks for reading my blog and taking the time to comment.

Nurses Unite!!!

Thanks for the plug cockroach catcher.

Happy1 said...

Taken from the Healthcare Commission Report:

...The investigation found that there were not enough nurses at the hospital properly to care for emergency patients. A review of staffing levels in A&E in 2007/08 found the trust was short 120 nurses, of which 17 were needed in A&E, 30 were needed in the surgical division and 77 on the medical wards.

...The investigation also found that in 2006/07 the trust set itself a target of saving £10 million. To achieve this, over 150 posts were lost, including nurses. This was in a trust that already had comparatively low levels of staff.

..This led to - one qualified nurse to every 15 patients.

...The recommendations of the Society of Acute Medicine is = staffing ratio of one qualified nurse to every 6 patients.

...There is considerable evidence linking the number of
nurses to standards of care, particularly for
emergency admissions.

..Between the years 2005 and 2008, there was a reduction in beds as well as in nurses. There were 101 fewer beds and 297 fewer nurses

...In A&E doctors were often put under pressure to make decisions
quickly in order to avoid breaches of the 4 hour waiting target.

..Doctors were also diverted away from seriously ill patients in order to treat minor ones who were in danger of breaching the target.

..For the same reason, patients were sometimes rushed from A&E to
the EAU without proper assessment and diagnosis, or they were moved to the ‘assess and treat’ area, even though staff were not formally allocated to the area and patients were not properly monitored there.

...clinical decision units (CDUs) which staff said were used as "dumping grounds" to avoid breaching the four hour target for being treated in A&E

...Many of these issues required consideration and resolution at a strategic level, but were rarely
considered by the board or by its governance and risk sub-committees. ...more concerned with hitting targets, gaining Foundation Trust status and marketing and had 'lost sight' of its responsibilities for patient care.

All sounds depressingly familiar to me....

Rose said...

Don't you hate bureaucrats sometimes. Their first instinct is always to say 'it wasn't me'.