More than half of British nurses think patient care is mediocre or worse with some admitting they are ‘ashamed’ of their profession
Most nurses think the care they give patients is mediocre or worse, according to a poll. Some admit that at times standards are so poor they feel ‘ashamed’ of the profession. And senior nurses say that when they try and tell other staff to improve they go off sick or run to their union.
But many say poor staffing levels are preventing them from providing the highest standard of care for patients.
A poll of 2,554 nurses carried out by Nursing Standard magazine found 58 per cent thought that care was ‘mediocre’, or worse. This included 10 per cent who thought care was ‘worringly very low’ and another 10 per cent who thought it was “low.”
One unnamed senior nurse said: ‘As professionals, we need to pull up those who are not providing adequate care. ‘In my experience, the main problem is that when you tell a nurse about their poor attitude or lack of care, they run to their union representative or go off sick with stress.
‘Bring back senior nurses with authority and a spine. If we don’t stamp out this uncaring attitude, the profession will fall apart. Sadly, it looks as if we are pretty close.’
But one in five said there were not enough staff on the wards for them to provide the highest standards of care. And many blamed poor staffing levels for not being able to communicate with patients, help them eat or drink or go to the toilet.
Claire Gibbs, a nurse who took part in the survey said: ‘The number of nursing staff compared to the number of patients is absolutely not enough. ‘At times, it is dangerous. Nursing staff probably get more upset than patients about not being able to do their jobs properly. It is not fair that nurses get the criticism without the public understanding why.’
The standard of nursing in the NHS has recently been thrust into the spotlight following several damning reports into patient care.
Last year a series of reports by the Health Service Ombudsman, the Care Quality Commission and the Patients Association exposed how elderly patients were routinely ignored on wards and not helped to eat, drink or even assisted to the toilet.
But according to the poll, 31 per cent of nurses said the main reason patients were not helped at meal-times was poor staffing levels. And 41 per cent blamed lack of staff for not communicating enough with patients.
Katherine Murphy, director of the Patients Association, who is also a former nurse, said: ‘Low staffing levels have a detrimental effect on care, but if you have good ward leaders they can see what needs to be done.’
Double whammy from green taxes: British families will have to pay more for fuel and flights
Britons face soaring costs for fuel and family holidays as a result of green taxes, experts warn today. A leading energy analyst has predicted that one in three households will face fuel poverty if the Government does not back a new era of nuclear power.
In a separate report, think-tank Civitas says that environmental charges imposed on airlines by Brussels from this week mean that a family of four will have to pay an extra £130 for return flights to the U.S. by the end of the decade.
The fuel poverty claim is made by Tony Lodge, a former adviser to the Conservatives, in a report from the Centre for Policy Studies.
He warns that failure to build new atomic plants will leave the country reliant on expensive foreign gas; the expense of importing this would then be passed on to customers through higher fuel bills.
Britain’s existing nuclear power plants are due to close within a few years. As a result, the country’s nuclear capacity will fall by 75 per cent. A number of coal-fired plants are also set to shut, as the Government strives to meet EU targets for reducing carbon emissions.
Wind farms – funded by green taxes on homes and businesses – will not be able to cover the resulting energy shortfall, Mr Lodge warns. He says that without more nuclear power plants, the UK will be dependent on gas for over 80 per cent of its electricity by 2025. Most of this would come from Russia and the Middle East.
Mr Lodge, a CPS research fellow, argues that the cost of the imported gas, and the electricity it would produce, would be so high that more than 8.5million families would be forced to choose between heating and eating as energy bills rise.
Government plans to penalise power firms that use coal to generate electricity – by imposing minimum prices – will effectively make it uneconomic to continue mining in the UK.
This ‘will result in over one billion tonnes of economically recoverable UK coal reserves becoming stranded’, Mr Lodge says. He adds that the Government is doing too little to either promote new nuclear plants or give firms interested in building them guarantees about future income.
The CPS study, titled ‘The Atomic Clock – How the Coalition is Gambling with Britain’s Energy Policy’, is released today. It warns: ‘Britain risks becoming yet more dependent on foreign gas and unmanageable renewable energy to generate electricity.
‘Consequently, Britain’s 26million households, who spend around £20billion a year on energy, will face higher bills at a time of falling household income.’
The director of the CPS, Tim Knox, described the current policy of adding hefty green taxes to bills to fund a move to wind energy as ‘incoherent’. ‘Unilateral energy taxes, delays to new generating plants and a lack of generation diversity will drive up costs,’ he added.
The Civitas report, also released today, focuses on the EU Emissions Trading System, which is designed to curb carbon dioxide emissions from aircraft engines. The directive came into force on January 1. The think-tank found that related charges will cost airlines £1billion a year – most of which will be passed on to businesses and consumers through higher prices.
Airlines are now required to buy a ‘permit to pollute’ to cover the cost of their carbon emissions – with extra fees for those who exceed their emissions limit.
But in a damning assessment, Civitas researcher David Merlin-Jones says the scheme will line the pockets of energy bosses and banks while doing little to help the environment.
The report states that the emissions trading scheme ‘fails on both counts: it provides only marginal emissions reductions and at a high cost to businesses and consumers’.
It continues: ‘The EU ETS pushes up energy bills, increasing fuel poverty, while power companies make billions in windfall profits. ‘Vested interests have all but paralysed the effectiveness of EU ETS, with banks making billions out of playing the carbon credit market.’
Unstable homes hit British High School grades: How family support is vital to success at school
Ever since the prewar Terman & Oden studies we have known that high IQ people are less prone to divorce so what we are seeing here could just be an IQ effect
Young people who grow up in an unstable household are twice as likely to leave school with no good GCSEs, according to the Prince’s Trust.
Those without a good education are also more likely to have been read fewer bedtime stories and to have had less support at home than their more successful peers, its research shows.
It also suggests the parents of those aged 16-25 with no A* to C grade GCSEs are less likely to help with their child’s homework. The survey found stability at home was linked to success in later life, according to the charity’s fourth annual Youth Happiness Index.
Nearly half (45 per cent) of all high-achieving 16- to 25-year-olds said someone at home always helped them with their schoolwork, as opposed to 38 per cent of those with no qualifications.
Those with no good GCSEs were less than half as likely to have someone read to them as the average young person, according to the YouGov survey.
The lack of routine also impacted upon their mental health, with the number of those with no qualifications three times more likely to be depressed than their well-educated peers. One in three of those with lower qualifications ‘always’ or ‘often’ felt rejected, compared with one in five overall.
Those with no good GCSEs were also more likely to have irregular mealtimes than those with more than five GCSEs at grades A* to C.
Martina Milburn, chief executive of the Prince’s Trust, said: ‘Without the right support, directionless teenagers can become lost young adults – unconfident, under-qualified and unemployed.’