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Respiratory nurses lack enough time for patients

NHS respiratory nurses are unable to spend long enough with patients, have to work extra hours, and more than half could retire in the next decade, researchers say.

NHS respiratory nurses are unable to spend long enough with patients, have to work extra hours, and more than half could retire in the next decade, researchers say

respiratory
Targeted support is needed to maintain the number of respiratory nurses.
 Picture: Charles Milligan

A study by the British Thoracic Society (BTS) analysed over 600 responses to two different online surveys. A total of 457 individual respiratory nurses and 148 NHS employers responded.

Almost half the nurses responding were aged between 45 and 54, and 29% had been qualified for between 30 and 35 years.

The study showed that more than half of the current respiratory nurse workforce are planning or eligible to retire within the next decade.

Safeguarding care

More than a quarter of the nurses felt unable to have sufficient patient contact and 91% reported working additional hours each week, with 72% saying they worked an extra six hours a week.

A total of 48.1% of nurses surveyed plan to retire or will be eligible to do so in the next ten years, and 1.8% aim to leave in the next five years.

The authors of the study, published in BMJ Open Respiratory Research, say this must be addressed urgently through effective recruitment, retention and succession planning.

Janelle Yorke, leader in respiratory research at the University of Manchester and chair of the British Thoracic Society nursing advisory group, said: ‘We hope the results of this study will help inform future NHS commissioning in providing targeted support within the sector, to safeguard patient care.’


Yorke J et al (2017) Evaluation of the current landscape of respiratory nurse specialists in the UK: planning for the future needs of patients. BMJ Open Respiratory Research. doi.org/10.1136/bmjresp-2017-000210

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