Limits are to be imposed on the amount of money that many NHS organisations can spend on agency staff, it was announced last week. Every NHS trust that is yet to acquire foundation status – and those that have done so but since run into financial difficulty – will have to keep a tight lid on their spending on temporary nurses and other clinicians.
Whenever disaster or tragedy strikes, nurses are often among the first on the scene. Last week was no different, with nurse consultant Tony Kemp one of the first healthcare professionals to attend the Shoreham air crash. In this week’s issue Mr Kemp tells of the horrific scenes he and others witnessed in the immediate aftermath of the incident, and how the various emergency services responded magnificently.
Waste in the health service is nothing new, with stories usually focusing on supplies and procurement. But as Nursing Standard reveals this week, there is a serious ongoing issue with the profession’s most senior staff. Too many of them are struggling in their roles and are either being removed from their posts or are walking away having had enough. The wasted talent is nothing short of a scandal.
We have all been served in shops by staff with limited English, or endured those conversations on the phone with someone we struggle to understand in a call centre. These are bearable when we are ordering a particular type of coffee or sorting out a mobile phone contract, but how would we feel in such circumstances if we were receiving health or social care from someone who barely spoke our language?
Raising concerns, speaking out, blowing the whistle – three phrases that mean much the same thing but are equally difficult to do, even for hardened professionals. But imagine being a nursing student on one of your first placements when you notice all is not well, and your early training has taught you that ignoring the problem is not an option.
The long-running saga over what – if anything – should replace the Liverpool Care Pathway for those close to death in England appears to be nearing a conclusion. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence issued a draft guideline last week that seeks to resolve the concerns raised by patients’ families that led to the LCP being scrapped in 2014.
Anger, disbelief, outrage and dismay were all in evidence last week after chancellor George Osborne revealed that he would be inflicting five more years of pay restraint on England’s nurses. Much as we have become desensitised to such announcements, news that nursing staff and others across the public sector will only receive annual rises of 1% between now and 2020 still sent shockwaves through the profession.
Just about every nursing student in the UK has their course funded by one of the four UK governments, and receives a bursary to help with living expenses. These arrangements have been in place for years, with debate focusing primarily on whether students receive sufficient support, rather than on the system itself.
Often the most interesting discussions at RCN congress take place away from the main hall, in fringe meetings attended by a few dozen of the keenest activists in nearby hotels or small rooms in the conference centre.
History was made in Bournemouth on Sunday evening. A small, but momentous slice of nursing history was witnessed by around 1,000 RCN members, with many more following events online. Cecilia Anim, a black woman from Ghana, stood before the college’s annual conference and addressed the audience as its elected president and professional leader.
In the end all that matters is there being enough staff to deliver high-quality care
Of the 290 recommendations in the Francis report, published 26 months ago, one has become the focus of fevered debate over the past couple of weeks. The eminent QC, who spent an entire year running his rule over the NHS, suggested that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence should determine the minimum number of staff and the appropriate skill mix across a range of settings and specialties in England.
The response of professional leaders to the announcement has bordered on apoplexy
Of all the issues that concerned Nursing Standard readers in the run up to the general election, two stood head and shoulders above the others. Pay, which will always feature prominently in such surveys, and safe staffing levels.
Can you help Nursing Standard editor Graham Scott make up his mind?
Launch of rcni.com and an introduction to the RCNi brand
Nursing Standard survey shows that two in three readers would be prepared to take industrial action
The CQC should ask students on placement where the problems lie in England's hospitals, argues Graham Scott