Nursing pressures must be acknowledged
Liberal Democrat Health Select Committee member, Andrew George MP, is calling on Health Ministers to acknowledge rather than deny the concerns raised by nursing health professionals about the gathering pressures on their profession and hence health services.
Health Secretary, Rt. Hon Andrew Lansley MP, will address the Royal College of Nursing annual Conference in Harrogate today where the RCN has released figures which expose the extent of pressure on the profession as a result of cuts in nursing posts and increased workload.
Mr George said, “The last Government inflated nurse recruitment figures by counting in untrained healthcare assistants as nurses when claiming to increase nurse numbers within the health service. Successive Health Ministers and health service managers have sought to intensify pressure by pursuing the repeated mantra of reducing acute hospital beds through avoiding what they term ‘unnecessary’ hospital admissions and ensuring earlier discharge of patients to the community.
“This has added to pressure on hospital wards where nurse to patient ratios have not kept pace with increased patient acuity and through-put and in many cases declined as nurse posts have been replaced by healthcare assistants. Restricted admission and earlier discharge policies of course have also increased pressure on community nurses where resources have remained either static or have declined.
“Health Ministers would do well to listen to what nurses are telling them, undertake an urgent review of nursing resources within the NHS and reflect on the need for an adequate complement of registered nurses in both the acute and community sector in their future workforce planning.”
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