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COVID-19: exhausted nurses could leave profession, ICU matron warns

Lindsey Izard and RCN say staff feel that patient care is being compromised

Lindsey Izard and RCN say staff feel that patient care is being compromised

Exhausted nurses may leave the profession once the COVID-19 pandemic is over, an intensive care matron has warned.

Lindsey Izard, who works at St Georges Hospital in Tooting, south west London, said: I really do think a lot of people have thought, This is the writing on the wall for me as a nurse, Im not sure I want to do this again.

Lindsey Izard and RCN say staff feel that patient care is being compromised

Picture: Alamy

Exhausted nurses may leave the profession once the COVID-19 pandemic is over, an intensive care matron has warned.

Lindsey Izard, who works at St George’s Hospital in Tooting, south west London, said: ‘I really do think a lot of people have thought, “This is the writing on the wall for me as a nurse, I’m not sure I want to do this again”.’

In July 2020, an RCN survey of its members found that, of the 41,798 who responded, 15,047 (36%) said they were thinking of leaving the nursing profession. Of these, 44% stated it was due to how they were treated during the pandemic, and 43% said it was due to low staffing levels.

Compromised patient care ‘sits really hard with nurses’

Ms Izard said she believes nurses and doctors are struggling with the fact that they cannot give the level of care they normally would to patients.

‘That sits really hard with nurses,’ she added.

‘Staff are exhausted, and on top of the exhaustion is the fact that they have to compromise patient care, in their eyes.’

Ms Izard added that staff had been given no respite when COVID-19 admissions fell during the summer, because the hospital was trying to catch up with postponed procedures.

RCN demands action to build a 'sustainable workforce’

Mike Adams

RCN director for England Mike Adams echoed Ms Izard’s concerns about pressures on staff.

He said: ‘As COVID-19 infection rates increase, there is real concern about the ability of health and care services to give safe and effective care to patients because of low staffing levels.

‘But this is not a new problem – we went into the pandemic with tens of thousands of vacancies in the NHS in England.

‘The government must redouble its efforts to build the sustainable workforce needed.’

Prime minister says he will increase nurse numbers

This week prime minister Boris Johnson made a statement promising to boost nurse numbers this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic – but failed to go into detail about figures.

He has already pledged to expand the nursing workforce in England by 50,000 by the end of 2024.


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