Tag Archives: RCN

NHS Wales should be praised for employing agency nurses to keep care standards high

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The facts about health service pay: If NHS Wales is having to employ agency staff, perhaps it is because the Conservative Government does not provide enough funding for NHS employees. Maybe this is why so many have been lured abroad by higher pay and better standards of living.

A Freedom of Information request by the Welsh Conservatives has revealed that NHS Wales had to spend £190 million on agency doctors and nurses in the last four years. Shame on NHS Wales, right?

Well, no. This merely demonstrates the cack-handed way the Conservatives have been running the health service since taking office as part of the Coalition Government in 2010.

Does anybody remember reports last year that the Conservative-led Coalition Government had dumped 4,000 senior nurses since 2010, considering them to be “disposable” and “a quick way to save money”?

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, said at the time: “We are facing a Europe-wide shortage of nursing staff and the last thing the NHS should be doing at this time is treating its highly experienced staff as disposable.

“We need to be doing everything we can to retain the skills we have in the NHS rather than using them as a quick and easy way to make savings.”

These words clearly fell on deaf ears in the Department of Health, which continued to cut nursing staff. Cuts in health spending in England are mirrored, via the Barnett formula, in funding provided to the devolved health services elsewhere in the UK, meaning that the Welsh Government has had to reduce money provided for other services in order to address the cut in spending – and service standard – caused by Tory changes.

That has taken several years to accomplish – as this blog has made clear in previous articles. The Westminster government’s grant to Wales has been cut by a massive 10 per cent since 2010.

And what has happened to our highly-qualified NHS staff members in the meantime? It seems they have been attracted abroad by foreign health services that treat their workforce with more respect.

Vox Political commenter karenmarieuk, responding to a recent article, told us: “My daughter now lives in South Africa and is treated by British staff at both her GP surgery and her local hospital.”

She asked: “Why do our health care professionals have to emigrate to earn the respect they deserve? Our nursing staff are canvassed regularly by Australia, being offered incentives such as housing and vastly improved lifestyles as well as pay that puts the UK to shame! This is just one country from many.

“When, I wonder, will the UK stop this mass exodus and try keeping staff here?”

When indeed? Never, under a Conservative government.

The Welsh Tories have shot themselves in the foot (again) with their ridiculous claims following this FoI request. The total amount spent on agency staff by NHS Wales comes to 1/120 of funding every year, to be compared with the 10 per cent cut from Conservative and Conservative-led Westminster governments.

Conservative politics has caused the problem, not a Labour-run health service.

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Tory attack on the poor spreads from the disabled to the elderly and children

The big question: Tories want nurses to ask the elderly, "Will you die so we can save some pennies on your pension and healthcare?"

The big question: Tories want nurses to ask the elderly, “Will you die so we can save some pennies on your pension and healthcare?”

For once, the Daily Mail‘s indignation is right on the button.

It reports today that district nurses are being asked to encourage elderly people to sign their lives away.

These ask if people have a preference to die at home when their time comes – and go on to suggest: Do you agree to a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) notice?

In other words, if they suffer a life-threatening health risk and doctors could bring them back, will they tell the medical professionals not to bother?

Nobody knows how long an elderly person might live after having their life saved. Some might say the Mail is simply trying to protect its readership – but this does seem to be a cynical attempt to save money – not only on health care but also on pension payments.

“The Royal College of Nursing says its members, most of whom will be meeting the patient for the first time, should not be put into the position of asking the elderly to sign their life away, particularly since they may be confused and not have a relative present to support them,” the Mail‘s comment column states.

It quotes a healthcare expert who said “the question itself is ‘callous’ and potentially disturbing, since it might leave the frail or vulnerable wondering if the visiting nurse ‘knows something they do not’, and death is imminent.

“Doubtless the NHS will say there is no malice intended, but this approach is as deeply troubling as it is insensitive. Don’t forget the Liverpool Care Pathway – under which patients judged to be dying were left without treatment, food or fluids – similarly began with supposedly humane intentions, only to be scrapped after… fears that it was being coldly misused to free hospital beds.”

Slightly less believable – on the face of it – is a plan reported in the Daily Mirror to force children in a central London council estate to use a play area underground.

The Conservative-led council that runs the Churchill Gardens estate wants to use current play facilities at the primary school to build an elderly people’s home, the paper reported.

Land marked out to accommodate the elderly will instead be used – get this – “for luxury apartments overlooking the Thames and the multi-billion-pound Battersea power station development. Flats that no-one in the overcrowded Churchill Gardens estate will be able to afford”.

Yes – it’s social engineering. Bring in the super-rich; bury the proles (and their children). Ensure enough Conservative voters live in the area to keep the Tories in control there.

Does anybody think the council has any intention of building children’s play facilities underground? It seems a bizarre effort, considering this council’s desire to do anything rather than spend money on the poor. Also, it would open up the estate to the possibility of terrible crimes, as children who are out of sight – as Tory councillors seem to desire – would be prey to criminals.

Both stories highlight the attitude of Conservatives in power in the UK today. They don’t care about anyone but their own.

They deprive the poor to save money, and then lavish it on those who have too much already.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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