The deaths of 28,000 people each year in NHS care could be prevented by sufficient nursing staff in hospitals, claims research by the University of Southampton and Imperial College London.
The researchers calculated how many people had died of complications after surgery between 1997 and 2009 by analysing nearly 70 million records.
Conditions such as blood clots, pneumonia, and bladder infections are considered to be preventable or cured if spotted early enough by nursing staff.
The study found that the likelihood of patient death is 10% higher if there are insufficient medically trained staff on a ward, and the likelihood of patients developing fatal complications and infections was higher in overstretched hospitals where patients are not properly monitored.
Although healthcare assistants are a valuable addition to care on wards, there is an increased 8% death rate if nurses are reduced and replaced by medically untrained workers.
Reports of patient neglect regularly appear in the mainstream media. In a health ‘care’ system that constantly fails to meet basic needs such as hydration and nutrition, expecting an overstretched service with demoralised staff to efficiently monitor patient’s aftercare may be asking too much.
The constant reduction in front-line nursing staff is a ridiculous money-saving exercise in what is supposed to be a service where there are layers upon layers of management and statistic collectors.
In a system where the good will of professional nurses and health care assistants is constantly abused, how can we expect them to give the best care possible?
The healthcare system needs to get away from academia and return to times when there were nurses on the ward nursing patients, not writing endless reports and collecting information for ‘managers’. Nurses in training need hands-on experience as the prime method of learning and assessment, backed up with academic study – not the other way round.
There needs to be enough nurses on a ward to look after patients, and they need to be supervised by experienced and motivated Sisters and Matrons