(Telegraph) Cristina Odone—Nursing is no longer the caring profession

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[My 79-year-old mother] found more care amid the cauliflowers and cash registers of John Lewis than in the NHS hospital she was admitted to six months ago. Her calls for water and a commode were ignored; so, too, were her attempts at conversation. Worse still, at one point she found herself lying naked on the bed while the two nurses who were sponging her giggled and spoke in Tagalog.

At least she was spared the nurses who wear red tabards emblazoned with the warning "Do Not Disturb". But thousands of patients in Kent, Derby and Middlesex are not so lucky. Their nurses are donning the "buzz off" tabards during drug rounds. The aim, according to the NHS Trusts that have introduced the uniform, is to prevent those pesky patients from interrupting nurse during her important tasks. She should not have to stop her form-filling and box-ticking to quench some old biddy's thirst, for goodness' sake.

This leaves the patient and their worried relatives wondering, whatever next?

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* Economics, PoliticsEconomyLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

3 Comments
Posted August 30, 2011 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Terry Tee wrote:

I read this article with some mixed feelings.  I had a knee replacement operation in a London NHS hospital on the 7th June.  I was in for only two nights.  An orthopaedic professor operated on me.  It cost me nothing.  The nursing staff struck me as being under tremendous pressure - one nurse told me that he was working a 12-hour shift (which I suspect might be illegal) because of staff shortages.  I had great admiration for the staff because they worked under such relentless pressure.  It seems to be more and more about numbers now in the NHS, pushing patients through faster and faster, and it is the nurses who pay the price also.  As regards Cristina’s complaint about paperwork and computers, nurses complain too.  As do teachers and policemen.  We are a nation drowning in paperwork and nobody ever puts a stop to it.  Finally - I know that the NHS has problems.  During a stint as a hospital chaplain I saw some hair-raising things.  Yet I quail at the readiness that we have to write critically and condemningly about the NHS.  It is such a Behemoth that it is never going to please all of the people all of the time.  Basically it does a decent job most of the time.  Engaged, constructive criticism is what is needed.  How to do that is the question.

August 30, 11:53 am | [comment link]
2. drjoan wrote:

I thought that the NHS was the model we in the US should look to for health care!

August 30, 5:25 pm | [comment link]
3. Teatime2 wrote:

Terry,
Interestingly enough, we pay through the nose for health care here in the US and have the same (plus worse) complaints. My English friends are horrified by how quickly we are pushed out of hospital, how much we’re expected to do on our own at home, and the number of surgeries that are now considered “day surgery.”

Heh, my major shoulder surgery last year was a day surgery and they sent me home with a morphine pump that I was expected to remove myself when it was empty. Despite the fact that it was my dominant arm that was stitched, bandaged, padded and completely immobilized and that Lupus further impairs use of my hands and limbs. Ah, but when they poured me into a wheelchair and my 21-year-old son brought around the car, they handed him some care instructions and a diagram of how to yank the needle out of my vein and remove the apparatus. Not bloody likely! Luckily, a physical therapist friend offered to give it a go and he removed it but not without some difficulty. And we were expected to do that on our own?

Your care likely will come to resemble more of this model to ease system stress and wait times. I guess y’all will have to decide if it works out better, on balance. And it is a balance—for some people, discharging them after right after they awaken from surgery and their vital signs are stable is an acceptable risk. For others, it’s not. A lot depends on family and social support—or lack thereof.

August 30, 6:03 pm | [comment link]
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