NHS staff shortages mean patients are dying alone on wards, say nurses

Years of poor planning and cost-cutting mean patients are dying alone in NHS hospitals because there are too few staff to care for them, according to a new report.

In a survey of more than 30,000 nurses in England, more than a third said essential patient care is left undone due to a lack of time - writes  itv.com.

This includes staff being unable to give medicines to patients on time, not having time to adequately manage patient pain or brush their teeth, and not enough time to complete records or give comfort.

Nurses described sobbing at the end of shifts, patients being left to die alone when they have no family, and said managing patients was like "spinning plates".

A quarter of nurses said they care for 14 patients or more at a time.

The report, from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), is mainly based on UK nurses' experience of their last shift.

It reveals:

  • Some 55% of nurses said there was a shortfall in planned staffing of one or more registered nurses on their last shift
  • One in five nurses on a shift are temporary agency staff
  • 36% of all nurses said essential patient care is left undone due to a lack of time
  • One in 10 nurses described the care on their last shift as poor, rising to 14% of those working in A&E
  • When nurses related concerns about the lack of staff, 44% said no action was taken by bosses
  • Seven out of 10 nurses (71%) said their last daytime shift exceeded official staffing guidelines, which say more than eight patients to one nurse should act as a "red flag"
  • Three-quarters of nurses worked an extra hour on average on top of their shift without pay

What did the nurses say?

One nurse said: "Patient care is seriously compromised when there are not enough staff. Patients at the end of life have no-one to sit with them. It is very upsetting when they have no family. Too many patients are dying alone."

Another said: "Being unable to attend to a dying patient as quickly as they need is soul-destroying."

A third added: "I feel like I'm spinning plates, except the plates are patients - that to me is the worst feeling. A feeling of having no control.

"Going from crisis to crisis continuously is so incredibly stressful. Frontline staff feel like they are working on a battlefield; we don't know who to go to first."

What about the Royal College of Nursing?

Janet Davies, chief executive of the RCN, said: "When this many professionals blow the whistle, they cannot be overlooked.

"The nursing shortage is biting hard and needs the attention of ministers - this warning comes from the very people they cannot afford to lose.

"The findings in this report are a direct result of years of poor planning and cost-cutting - it was entirely predictable.

"We urgently need assurances from every health and care provider that services are safe for patients, and new laws on staffing should follow swiftly."

What has the Government said?

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "We are helping the NHS to make sure it has the right staff, in the right place, at the right time, to provide safe care - that's why there are over 29,600 more professionally-qualified clinical staff, including over 11,300 more nurses on our wards since May 2010.

"We have also committed to funding an extra 10,000 places for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals by 2020 to ensure the NHS has the staff it needs both now and in the future."

Read other news of London on our site.

itv.com
NHSstaff patients dyingalone
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
I recommend
No recommendations yet

Comments

Comments are designed to communicate and discuss the features of an enterprise or event, as well as to find out the interesting questions on it.

Society
A pioneering geneticist has died in hospital after she was involved in a crash witha cab and another vehicle while cycling in London. Professor Maria Bitner-Glindzicz, 55, who died on Thursday, was a professor of human and molecular genetics at the Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, linked to University College London . She was involved in a crash with a cab and a stationary vehiclewhile cycling in Clerkenwell on Wednesday morning. Scotland Yar...
Society
A father is set to take on London’s biggest exercise challenges over the next 12 months in a bid to raise more than £50,000 in memory of his son who died six days after he was born. Darren Smith’s son Isaac died in August 2012 following time in neonatal intensive care for brain cooling, a therapy used to prevent brain damage in newborns. The year after he died, the 39-year-old, from Enfield , ran the London Marathon, raising nearly £30,000 for the Evelina...
Society
A studentwho arrived late at school had a good excuse — he had been helping to save the life of a pensioner who had collapsed in the street. Tejinder Purewal, 16, gave CPR chest compressions to 72-year-old Antonio Fernandes as he lay in Bath Road, Hounslow , after being alerted by the screams of a passer-by. Tejinder, pictured, had received basic life-saving training from St John Ambulance as part of his activities as a school army cadet. Tonight he will b...
Society
A new baby girl was brought into the world with the help of three London police officers in Kentish Town. The trio of bobbies assisted new mum Weihong Yu in giving birth after she went into labourin Kentish Town Road on Sunday night. PC Burch, PC Williams and PC King arrived at 9.27pm to help Ms Yu, who gave birth just five minutes later at 9.32pm. The London Ambulance Service arrived atthe scene just a minute later and whisked the newborn, who is yet to b...
Society
An ambitious target to build 3,700 new council homes by 2025 has been scrapped, in a blow to Mayor Sadiq Khan’s pledge to tackle the capital’s housing crisis. The City of London Corporation announced the plan in 2015 but has now quietly abandoned any hope of hitting the deadline, following a series of setbacks, delays and mounting costs - writes standard.co.uk Only 62 homes were completed in the first three years and the Square Mile’s local authority has n...
Incidents
A man arrested at Buckingham Palace on suspicion of possessing a Taser has been released by police. The 38-year-old, a visitor to London from the Netherlands, was detained at the visitors' entrance to the palace at about 12:45 BST on Sunday - writes bbc.com Scotland Yard said his possession of the device, which was low-powered and part of a keyring, was a genuine error, and that he posed no threat. The man was released without further action. A spokesman s...
Incidents
A woman has been charged with the murder of her 75-year-old husband at their home in east London. Kanagusabi Ramathan was found with serious head injuries after paramedics attended a property in Burges Road, Newham, at about 14:20 BST on Friday. Packiam Ramathan, 73, has been remanded in custody and is due to appear at Thames Magistrates' Court on Monday. A post-mortem examination and formal identification will be carried out in due course, police said. Re...
Politics
Labour says it would scrap laws allowing private landlords to evict tenants without giving a reason. The law, in force since 1988, is thought to be the biggest cause of homelessness. Labour's shadow housing minister John Healey will announce the policy at the party's conference later. He will also unveil plans for a £20m fund to set up "renters unions" to support tenants in disputes with landlords. So-called "no-fault" evictions - when landlords throw peop...
Society
From an early age, children are asked about what they would like to do when they grow up. Their answers - and the jobs they go on to do - reveal some striking differences. From sportsperson to vet to lawyer, the UK's children have their sights set on ambitious jobs - writes bbc.com But a closer look at the aspirations of boys and girls from different ethnic backgrounds shows that some are aiming higher than others. Until now, we have known very little abou...