Monday, April 24, 2006


Almost half of senior nurses have seen cuts in staff or training posts in the last year in the trust where they work, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has revealed. On the eve of its congress, the RCN said 60% of senior nurses did not have enough staff to give patients the care they would like. Almost two-thirds (62%) of ward sisters and matrons feel they are under too much pressure, and 40% would resign if they could.

Eight out of 10 work unpaid overtime several times a week - with 30% doing so every shift. The poll of almost 1,000 senior nurses comes as the RCN said it believed 13,000 posts had been identified for cuts since October last year.

Since March 1 this year, more than 7,000 cuts have been announced by trusts up and down the country. The NHS is struggling with a deficit expected to top 623 million pounds this financial year.

In the survey, the nurses also said they wanted more resources, more time to spend with patients, and more time to educate staff and develop good practice. Dr Beverly Malone, general secretary of the RCN, said: "Put simply, this survey shows that senior nurses are under pressure, under-resourced and under-appreciated. "Patient care is suffering because of the huge pressures and demands these nurses are facing. They are working extremely hard in difficult circumstances, in a whirl of deficits and relentless reforms." She added: "Government actions on deficits and the headlong rush into reforms is leaving disaffection and disillusionment in its wake. When nearly half of the senior nurses surveyed want to quit, the Government has got to sit up and take this issue seriously.

Chief Nursing Officer Christine Beasley said: "I appreciate how anxious some nurses will feel at present and how demanding their job is. "I would like to reassure them that the threat of redundancy will be contained to as few people as possible and in many cases changes will be achieved through cutting down on agency staff, freezing non-essential vacant posts and redeploying staff into other roles."


British nurses taking their skills elsewhere -- to Australia

Hundreds of British nurses will be lured to NSW as the State Government plans to take advantage of the cash crisis in the British health system. The recruitment drive, to start next month, comes after 300 British nurses, also enticed by the Government, relocated to NSW last year. The state urgently needs an extra 1800 nurses and retiring NSW chief nursing officer Kathy Baker said the Government had "no choice" but to poach nurses from Britain. Three British recruitment agencies have been awarded contracts by the Government and a team from NSW will spend about three weeks in Britain next month, hiring more than 200 nurses.

Britain's cash-strapped National Health System is expected to slash at least 13,000 jobs in coming months. More than 7000 jobs have already been lost and dozens of hospitals are millions of dollars in the red.

Although the Howard Government recently announced an extra 1000 university undergraduate nursing positions, Professor Baker said she wasn't confident NSW would be allocated any. NSW Health Minister John Hatzistergos said the shortfall in Commonwealth-provided university training places was a major setback for staffing in public hospitals.

More here


For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL hospitals and health insurance schemes should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the very poor and minimal regulation. Both Australia and Sweden have large private sector health systems with government reimbursement for privately-provided services so can a purely private system with some level of government reimbursement or insurance for the poor be so hard to do?

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