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Retired Nurses Investigate Why Patient Care Standards Are Slipping

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

With fears on the rise about the standard of basic nursing care in our NHS, a recent BBC clip followed two retired nurses, Trudy O’Connor and Deborah Harrison, to investigate whether or not standards really have slipped. Having themselves trained in 1968, they believe that the current level of care is not as high as it was when they were nurses.  One of them complained that when her son was in hospital, he was not washed in nine days, and when there, she also witnessed an elderly patient struggling to eat without any assistance from a nurse.

With medical negligence claims on the rise, commonly due to an inadequate level of care, the two nurses went to a nurse-training course at Coventry University to gain a better insight into the levels of teaching provided to our future nurses.

Although many aspects of the training were of a very high standard – such as training in medical technology and holistic skills – their concerns regarding basic care remained prevalent. The training course highlighted to them that many untrained health assistants are now responsible for most of the basic nursing duties, which may be the main reason behind decreasing standards. Their visit to Coventry University also illuminated that a great deal of the course is taught purely in the classroom, as opposed to pupils actively gaining experience on the wards.

NHS Litigation Authority Statistics for 2012:

  • 14,171 claims were closed, (13% up on last year and more than 40% higher than three years ago.)
  • Growth in clinical claims slowed last year with a rise of 5.6% in new clinical claims in 2011/12, (this compares with a 58% rise in the previous three years.)
  • Average time to resolve a claim remains under sixteen months.
  • 37% of claims resolved without any damages paid.

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