Corbyn quotes Nursing Standard Marie Curie survey during PMQs

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn uses Commons questions to highlight findings of Nursing Standard Marie Curie joint end of life care survey.
Jeremy Corbyn

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn highlighted findings of a Nursing Standard Marie Curie survey on end of life care when he faced the prime minister at the dispatch box today.

The Labour leader called on the PM to retain the NHS bursary Photo: PA

Mr Corbyn cited the survey of almost 1,000 nurses and healthcare assistants, which revealed two thirds (67%) say they have too little time to provide high-quality care to dying patients. He was speaking during an exchange with Theresa May at prime minister’s questions.

Overstretched staff

‘Today Marie Curie found nurses are so overstetched, they cannot provide the high-quality care needed for patients at the very end of their lives. The lack of community care prevents people from having the dignity of dying at home,’ Mr Corbyn said. ‘There is a nursing shortage and something should be done about it, such as reinstating the nurses bursary.’

Mr Corbyn referred to a 24% fall in the number of applications to nursing courses in England in the past year.

‘Reinstate the bursary’

He said: ‘The RCN has warned the nursing workforce is in crisis and if fewer nurses graduate in 2020, it will excerbate what is already an unsustainable situation. Will the prime minister at least commit herself to reinstating the nurses bursaries?’

Mrs May replied 10,000 training places had now been made available and there were 1,800 more midwives in the NHS than in 2010. In fact, that 10,000 figure includes training places for other healthcare professions – not simply places for nursing and midwifery students.

What nurses and support staff told us

Findings in the Nursing Standard Marie Curie survey of 996 nurses and healthcare assistants also revealed:

  • 58% said they had been trained in end of life care.
  • Significant barriers to providing care to dying patients – other than lack of time – include poor staffing levels (68%),
  • Lack of specialist palliative care support (33%)
  • Lack of community service provision (33%).

Growing workloads are making it more difficult to provide the best care, one community nurse stated.

She said: ‘Because of increasing paperwork, larger caseloads and large numbers of recently qualified staff working in the community, high-quality end of life care is much less common than it was when I first worked in the community about 12 years ago. It’s very worrying.’

One hospital nurse commented: ‘Lack of staff, task-orientated wards, time constraints. It feels awful. I wish it was different.’

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