Nurses forced to do the job of three people

Emmette Dillon
Emmette Dillon

A Derry staff nurse has hit out at the continued pressures nurses are under and accused the British Prime Minister of being “out of touch.”

Writing on Northern Ireland based website “Bam Mag,” the Altnagelvin Hospial staff member described nurses as the foot soldiers of the National Health Service.

“Nurses across NI/UK and Ireland are now doing the job of what three nurses would have been tasked with 10 years ago,” he said.

“Our role has been transformed which leaves us half way between social worker and care worker, the nursing model now reads more like a financial adviser’s/legal clerk’s filing cabinet.

“Why? Because we are constantly stuck at a desk documenting to prevent any conceivable litigation that could ensue from ward events.

“What needs to change is that nurses need to be allowed to be exactly that, nurses.

“Release us from the shackles of paper work and let us care for our patients instead of lumbering us with audits, ward meetings, social work reviews etc.

“The up-skilling in the NHS as a means of saving money is in effect watering down nursing care and not freeing time that could be spent actually caring for patients.”

Emmette lays the blame squarely at the door of British Prime Minister David Cameron and the succession of health ministers in Northern Ireland.

He continued: “David Cameron and his gaggle of public school party MPs do not understand the importance and value of the NHS to the working man.

“David Cameron once couldn’t answer a question on how much a litre of milk costs today, he is completely out of touch.

“He is happy to sell off the NHS, let’s be honest his party have actively set out to privatise a number of national institutions/services.

“Why has Mr Cameron not thrown a rescue package at the NHS but has done so at the banks?

“By portraying the NHS as a dying family pet, he creates the illusion, plants the seed in our heads that we would be better off with private health insurance.

“As a nurse it’s shocking that as one of the very few professions that cannot strike, we are treated appallingly, this isn’t a coincidence.

“The fear of falling behind/the constant pressure from the powers at be to do even more within an incredibly busy 12 hours is in effect reducing the quality of care, which in effect causes accidents to happen, which causes litigation.

“So in effect the management structure/policies are costing us even more money, but managers don’t see the human cost - nurses crying in their car on the way home for fear that they forgot a signature or didn’t give a tablet.

“Technically the NHS promotes a culture of honesty regarding mistakes/ clinical incidences. But my fellow nurses will back me up and say that the very reason why nurses in the past have tried to hide errors, was the fear of punishment.

“The sad fact is that nurses are not supported by senior management, they only see audit figures and budgets.

This then perpetuates the culture of ‘throw each other under the bus’ or ‘you’re on your own mate’ among nurses because we have to guard our registration with our lives.

“Senior management need to see the people behind the tunic and fob watch doing an incredible job, juggling our various roles ‘nurse, counsellor, PA, hair dresser, friend, events manager, stylist’ in order to meet our patients’ needs, not a army of worker ants.

“So how do we save the NHS, back to basics, free up time to care.”