The BMA announced this morning that a motion to strike following the ballot of Junior Doctors has passed meaning the three strike dates in December will go ahead. This post will outline a few steps you can take, as a nurse, to support the doctors strike yet minimise the impact of the Doctors’ Strike on your patients.
Patient safety is of paramount importance and it is crucial we keep patients safe during this period, this post is simply a guide you will know what is best for your patients and you should use your clinical judgement and escalate within your organisation if you have serious concerns about patient safety.
1. COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR PATIENTS
Ensure your patients are aware of the industrial action taking place, explain any impact this may have on them and their treatment. Explain that there is still consultant cover and there are doctors available should they be needed in an emergency but routine and non-urgent treatment will be delayed.
2. KNOW YOUR TRUST OR ORGANISATIONS PLAN
NHS Trusts and organisations around the country will be putting in place measures to minimise the impact on patients and ensure safety, make sure you read this guidance early, ask any questions and speak to your line manager if you have any concerns about patient safety before the industrial action.
3. REVIEW DRUGS CARDS OR PRESCRIPTIONS
A delay in critical drugs can be life threatening so it’s important in the days before the strike ensure any prescriptions or drug cards are written or rewritten if they are due to expire, medications are reviewed and arrangements have been made for any medication that is for the administration by ‘Doctors Only’.
You should also ensure that patients have adequate pain relief, anti-sickness and IV fluids prescribed if appropriate.
4. ENSURE THERE IS A MEDICAL PLAN IN PLACE
Ensure that you have an established plan in place for your patients treatment, know what should happen if your patient deteriorates and ensure any test or investigations that require a Doctor are rearranged promptly.
You should clarify any criteria for escalation, ensure DNRs are written and any plans are clearly documented.
5. DISCHARGE EARLY
Discharge safely or do not discharge at all!
If your patient is due to be discharged during the period of action ensure any TTOs and discharge letters are written early, outpatients appointments are made and the patient has been spoken to by a member of the medical team.
If possible discharge the day before or after the action but ensure patient flow within your organisation.
6. INCREASE STAFFING
It is likely there will be an increased demand on emergency and secondary care services during the period of action, if possible ensure your ward or area is well staffed.
7. ENSURE PATIENT SAFETY DURING THE STRIKE
YOU know your area of work better than us, YOU know the steps you need to take in order to ensure YOUR patients are safe.
If you have any tips you want to share to help us support the doctors while keeping patients safe, post them in the comments section.
RCN members deliver #ScrapTheCap petition to Downing Street
Frontline nursing staff today handed a petition of 67,000 names to Downing Street, urging the Government to scrap the cap on public sector pay.
RCN members – representing every country of the UK – led the Summer of Protest campaign in their local communities.
Michael Coram (London), Kayleigh Peel (West Midlands), Jane Leighton (Northern Ireland), Julie Lambeth (Scotland) and Jean Richards (Wales) are RCN Pay Champions and spent the summer promoting the Scrap the Cap campaign, distributing campaign materials and organising events at hospitals and in public spaces.
The petition’s signatures were collected on 67,000 postcards, which were completed during the Summer of Protest, at events held in towns and cities. If stacked end-to-end the postcards would reach more than one and a half times the height of Mount Everest. The petition was accompanied by a letter from Michael Brown, Chair of RCN Council.
The campaign saw thousands of nurses join together to protest against the 1% pay cap, which has caused nursing pay to fall by 14% in real-terms since 2010, leaving them £3,000 a year worse off.
It highlighted that low pay has stood in the way of attracting enough staff to provide safe patient care. With 40,000 nursing vacancies in England alone and more nurses leaving than joining the profession, it is vital the Government ends the pay cap to prevent the nursing workforce from shrinking even further.
Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said:
“Nurses from all corners of the UK have shown the Government that they are a force to be reckoned with. Throughout the summer they campaigned tirelessly to end the cap which has cut their pay year-on-year.
“Our members in front of the famous door today and everybody across the UK should be proud of their achievements. The Government has listened to them and has categorically said they are scrapping the pay cap.
“This petition shows huge levels of public support for nurses, who work so hard to provide care for patients in the midst of a staffing crisis and increasing pressures in the NHS.
“Their next pay offer must not come in below inflation and Ministers must not ask the NHS to make other cuts to pay for it.”
After mounting pressure from the RCN, the public, other trade unions and MPs, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, announced in the House of Commons on October 10 that the pay cap will be scrapped.
RCN warns of a “dangerous blind-spot” in dealing with assaults on NHS staff
The Government has confirmed they will no longer collect information when NHS staff are assaulted.
Health ministers will no longer collect information on NHS staff
assaults, the Government confirmed for the first time on the eve of a
Commons debate. A decision stands in contrast to the Home Office, which monitors assaults on police officers.
The Royal College of Nursing has warned that the move leaves the Government blind to the scale of the problem and risks a further deterioration.
The news comes only a week after Unison said it had concerned that cuts to mental health service were leaving staff vulnerable to violence and aggression.
MPs will today debate a Private Member’s Bill to strengthen the
law against people who assault emergency workers.
The Department of Health confirmed that the NHS and Government will not
continue to collect assaults figures – previously gathered and released
by NHS Protect. Ministers scrapped the body in the current fiscal
year without detailing where responsibility will fall.
The legislation will double the maximum sentence for common assault from
six months to a year if committed against an emergency worker while on
Last year, a survey of RCN members found more than half had
experienced physical or verbal abuse from patients and a further 63%
from patients’ relatives or other members of the public.
Final figures from NHS Protect showed a 4% rise in physical assaults
against healthcare workers in England from 67,864 in 2014/15 to 70,555
Figures from NHS Protect show that only 10 per cent of physical
assaults, unrelated to a medical condition such as a mental health
problem or dementia, result in criminal sanctions.
Kim Sunley, RCN Senior Employment Relations Advisor, said;
“This creates a dangerous blind spot for ministers hoping to tackle the increasing number of assaults in the NHS. It is totally inadequate to rely on optional surveys, especially if the law is being tightened.
“The official body, before it was disbanded, warned Ministers the level of assaults was rising. It should not have been removed and the Government must take their role more seriously.
“This bill represents a vital step towards achieving that, but without the ability to fully monitor the figures, it will be difficult to
quantify the scale of the problem, or the effectiveness of any new law.”
NICE estimated in 2015 that attacks on staff cost the NHS £69 million a
year through absence, loss of productivity and additional security –
equal to the cost of employing about 1,800 nurses.
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