Your views

Readers’ panel: With the NHS under so much pressure, has failure lost its power to shock?

Nurses from a wide range of specialties give their views on the impact of care failings 

We ask our readers whether failures in care have become normalised.


Drew Payne (@drew_london) is a community staff nurse
Drew Payne
Drew Payne

We have all seen the evidence that shows standards are falling, and we know why – cuts in resources, low staff numbers and a huge increase in workload. So why aren’t we angrier about this? Are we so stressed that we are no longer shocked?

Has the low morale and overwork sapped our anger? If we aren’t being given the resources to safely look after patients we should be shouting loudly about it. Poor health care can and does ruin lives. Don’t let this become the new norm.


Jane Scullion (@JaneScullion) is a respiratory nurse consultant at Glenfield Hospital, Leicester
Jane Scullion
Jane Scullion

Almost every morning when I turn on the news, there is another story about the failings of the NHS. What we don’t hear enough about is how much we get right. What we have become inured to is the sheer weight of failure, stoked by the ‘ambulance chasing’ culture we live and work in, and by the inability of those at fault to accept blame early on and just put up their hands and apologise.

The basis of many failures is poor communication, poor leadership and a lack of personal responsibility.


Liz Charalambous (@lizcharalambou) is a staff nurse at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
Liz Charalambous
Liz Charalambous

I disagree that standards are declining. The NHS demonstrates outstanding success despite the enormous pressures the service is under. NHS staff are working at full throttle to deliver the highest standards of care in a world class service.

The mainstream media often focuses on isolated pockets of failure and substandard care. Healthcare staff are extremely concerned when reports of poor care provision appear in the news, and are doing all they can to ensure patients are kept safe and well cared for.


Mark Pittman is an emergency nurse practitioner at St Joseph’s Hospital, Newport, South Wales
Mark Pittman
Mark Pittman

The NHS has been sinking for a decade and its funds have been leached away.

Internally, managerial staff numbers have been growing, controlling clinical practice without real evaluation and shop floor support, and medics have a bottomless money pit while nursing remains poor.

Externally, many service users continually choose to be unhealthy while expecting more luxury NHS services. Nurses who witness such apparently acceptable abuses of the NHS have been worn down by it, and end up having to just go with the flow. Politics is never about health, but targets.

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