Monday, 20 April 2009

A Nurse from Staffordshire talks

My tears at 'appalling' A&E ward

An inquiry into the Mid-Staffordshire Hospitals Trust is due to report back to the government next week.

A damning report by the NHS watchdog the Healthcare Commission has already said patients died due to the "appalling" state of emergency care at Stafford Hospital.

Angie said working on A&E was heartbreaking

One former nurse practitioner turned whistle-blower claims the warning signs were obvious long before the commission's involvement as she told Simon Cox, of Radio 4's, The Report.
Angie (not her real name) has no doubt what caused the crisis at the hospital, part of the Mid Staffordshire trust: chronic staff shortages, an obsession with targets and the drive for foundation status.

The hospital's problems took a heavy toll on staff and patients alike.

"I would come home literally in tears sometimes because I felt I couldn't deliver the standard of nursing care that I wanted and that patients should be getting and indeed have the right to expect," she told The Report.

"There just physically wasn't enough nursing staff available to go and attend to them and get a commode, help them get changed, change the bed - anything like that - and patients would be left for any amount of time before that was seen to.

"It used to literally break my heart."

Staff shortages

Angie left Stafford Hospital last year. She was there for six years, with the last four spent in the accident and emergency department.

Throughout this time the shortage of doctors and nurses was a major problem, according to Angie.

"The nursing levels were extremely low, dangerously low.

"This issue was flagged up many, many times by myself and other colleagues through the internal incident reporting system and very little was done about it."

Bullying claims

But these issues were compounded by a target that patients should spend no more than four hours waiting in A&E.

"In principle it's a good idea," she said. "However the onus was solely on the four hour target - it was not about patient care, the comfort of a patient or the delivery of treatment."

If you said as a nurse, 'I'm not prepared to lie about this', you would be bullied and threatened.

I understand Angie. When you take on those kinds of patients loads you are so up to your neck in drugs,IV's, assessments, troubleshooting, doctors orders , and emergencies that you cannot possibly provide anything approaching decent, basic, nursing care. It is impossible. Incident forms are getting used as toilet tissue by managment. Being caring and hardworking is just not enough. If I am in one bay I cannot see what is going on in another. People might fall. Their relatives accuse you of not caring and being lazy. I hate it. Love nursing, adore the patients but hate the bullshit.


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