Valerie Gommon Midwife’s Blog

Archive for the ‘nurse’ Category

After the recent emergency budget the Government has been accused of hampering efforts to employ more midwives after it unveiled a two-year pay freeze for workers in the public sector.  www.nursingtimes.net/nursing-practice-clinical-research/clinical-subjects/midwifery/pay-freeze-could-hit-midwife-efforts-says-rcm/5016301.article

The National Childbirth Trust (NCT) this week expressed concern that parents trying to raise a family will bear the brunt of the cuts – http://bit.ly/cc81Zy.  Cuts planned include:

  • child benefit will be frozen for three years
  • a cut in child tax credit for those on combined income of over £40,000
  • health in pregnancy grant (£190) abolished
  • Sure Start grant restricted to only the first-born child
  • Lone parents to look for work when youngest child goes to school.

Just a quick “rant” here – did you see a news item this week suggesting that Nursing and Midwifery training posts may be cut in a bid to save money?

I was shouting at the TV – what a complete and utter disaster this would be.  We already have a national shortage of midwives and we certainly are not training enough new midwives.  Indeed Milton Keynes NHS Hospital Trust is stating that it is unable to recruit enough midwives to meet their staffing needs and cites the national shortage of midwives as part of the problem.

The attrition rate of students midwives is also incredibly high, perhaps up to 50%, and Trusts are also struggling to have enough qualified midwives to train students and once qualified a sizable number of midwives quickly leave the profession as they are not supported into the role and find the job too demanding.

We need more nurses and midwives, not less and any further decrease in staff numbers will only put additional pressure on the existing workforce and lead to yet more clinical staff leaving their chosen profession.

Women and midwives need to join together to protect the future of midwifery!

Last week nurse Margaret Haywood was struck of the nurses register by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) -the professional body for nurses and midwives in the UK.

Between December 2004 and May 2005 Ms Haywood worked as a bank nurse on on Peel and Stewart ward at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton during this time she kept a diary and undertook secret filming on behalf on the BBC television programme Panorama and a documentary was screened in July 2005.

Ms Haywood, a nurse with 20 years experience, was accused and found guilty of:

(i) Raising concerns about patient care in the BBC Panorama documentary “Under Cover Nurse” when you should have reported the concerns in accordance with Trust policy;

(ii) Breaching patient confidentiality.

The actions of the NMC have caused strong reactions, the union Unite accused the NMC of being ‘heavy handed’ in its treatment of Ms Haywood.

Karen Reay, Unite’s officer for health, said: ‘We can’t have a culture where ‘whistle blowers’ feel intimated into not legitimately reporting wrong doing and bad practice in the NHS. We need a safe environment for ‘whistle blowers’ who feel that they can complain without losing their livelihood.

‘There appears to be a number of extenuating circumstances in the case of Margaret Haywood and the NMC could have imposed a lesser punishment than that of being struck off.’

‘The NMC exists as a regulatory body to protect patients and clients first and foremost, and not the alleged failings of members of the nursing profession in caring for the elderly.’

Ms Haywood admitted breaching patient confidentiality, but said that she had agreed to film undercover inside the Royal Sussex Hospital in Brighton to highlight the awful conditions on the wards.

The programme’s producer Elizabeth Bloor had told the tribunal that “there was an over-arching public interest” in the footage being broadcast.  At the time of the filming the hospital had serious problems with the lowest “star” rating, an £8 million deficit and was receiving complaints about the standards of care given.

After the Panorama programme concerns about standards of care were raised in the House of Commons after the programme and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust issued a public apology admitting “serious lapses in the quality of care”.

The actions of the NMC appear to raise questions for NHS staff about how they are able to expose inadequacies in our healthcare system, particularly as Ms Haywood indicated that she had attempted to discuss concerns with her manager with little effect.

www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article6106326.ece

www.nursingtimes.net/nmc-defends-decision-to-strike-off-undercover-nurse-margaret-haywood/5000608.article

I have just learnt that the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) www.rcn.org.uk and an organisation called CAUSE (Campaign Against Unnecessary Suspensions and Exclusions in the NHS (UK)) www.suspension-nhs are fully supporting Ms Haywood stating that a “grave miscarriage of justice” has taken place.  There is also a petition in support of Ms Haywood at www.gopetition.com/online/27030.html


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