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Hot buttered toast will improve the patient experience, claims PM

Hospitals have been forced to outsource catering to private companies in a bid to save money. 

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Toast in Toaster
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A review will examine if the number of hospitals using in-house catering teams can be increased.

Boris Johnson claims that something as simple as delivering “hot buttered toast for the patients of this country” will help improve their experience of the NHS.

His remarks come alongside an announcement that Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith will advise a Government review into hospital food.

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The “root and branch” review by the Department of Health and Social Care will examine if the number of hospitals using in-house catering teams can be increased.

Earlier this year, six people died due to listeria in pre-packaged hospital sandwiches sourced from private companies.

‘Too many complaints’.

Over the past decade, most hospitals have been forced to outsource catering to private companies in a bid to save money.

Earlier this week during a visit to Torbay Hospital in Devon Mr. Johnson met catering and hospital staff and patients.

Hot Buttered Toast

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The Prime Minister said: “We get too many complaints from patients about the quality of the food and I think it does affect their experience when they are in hospital.

“And sometimes it can be something as simple as not having hot toast, and having toast actually made on the wards, so one thing you want to deliver is hot buttered toast for the patients of this country.”

‘Half-baked schemes’.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) claims that “you don’t need a celebrity chef to tell you hospital food needs an overhaul.”

Patricia Marquis, RCN Director for England said: “More than six years ago the then-health secretary said hospitals should serve food that is of high quality and healthy.

“The Government hopes this review will improve the lives of nursing staff as well, yet many of our members tell us short-staffing is so rampant lunch breaks have become a luxury, not a necessity.

“Nursing staff won’t see improvements in hospital catering if they can’t even take time to eat a proper meal on shift without putting patients in harm’s way.

“Our expectations for this review go beyond half-baked schemes no matter how noble.”

Workforce

Patient safety in danger unless nurse numbers increased, warns RCN

The college is encouraging people to speak out about the impact of England’s nurse shortage.

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Hospital Admissions Unit

There have only been an extra 9,894 nurses recruited to NHS hospitals since 2013.

The shortage of nursing staff in England is putting patient safety in danger, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) warns today as it use the first World Patient Safety Day to launch a new campaign.

The campaign encourages the people to speak out about the potentially devastating impact of the nursing shortage.

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There are an estimated 40,000 unfilled nursing vacancies in England alone.

It calls for legislation to be brought forward in England to help address the nursing workforce crisis. Earlier this year, nurses and support workers in Scotland secured new legislation on safe staffing levels after a nurse staffing law was introduced in Wales in 2016.

There are not enough nurses.

A new analysis by the RCN shows that for every one extra nurse NHS acute Trusts in England have managed to recruit in the five years since 2013/14, there were 157 extra admissions to hospital as emergencies or for planned treatment.

Last year the number of extra admissions for every additional nurse taken on increased to 217.  The analysis shows that the extra 9,894 nurses recruited to NHS hospitals since 2013/14 is dwarfed by the additional 1,557,074 admissions over the same period.

Public carried out to mark the campaign launch reveals that 71 per cent of the public think there are not enough nurses to provide safe care to patients and 67 per cent of the public in England wrongly think the Government has a legal responsibility to ensure there are sufficient nursing staff.

The 2013 Francis Report on failings of care Stafford Hospital concluded that the main factor responsible was a significant shortage of nurses at the hospital.

Issuing a stark warning

Dame Donna Kinnair, RCN Chief Executive and General Secretary, said: “Today we’re issuing a stark warning that patient safety is being endangered by nursing shortages.  Staffing shortfalls are never simply numbers on a spreadsheet – they affect real patients in real communities.

“We’re calling on the public in England to fight for nurses and sign our petition calling on the Westminster Government to invest in the future workforce and make clear who is accountable in law for safe patient care. 

“Our polling shows almost two-thirds of people already fear there aren’t enough nurses to provide safe care – and they want recruiting more nurses to be the top priority for any extra funding for the NHS in England. 

“Nurses are the single most trusted professional group in the whole country, with 96% of the public placing them at the top of a list of occupations including doctors, teachers, the police and scientists.  Nursing staff are asking for your support in calling time on this crisis.”

‘Too much pressure’.

Responding to the RCN’s campaign on safe and effective staffing for patient care; Andrea Sutcliffe CBE, Chief Executive and Registrar at the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), said: “Every time we, or someone we love, needs care, we trust nurses and midwives with the right skills and knowledge to be there to meet our needs.

“The RCN analysis echoes some of the NMC’s own findings. Our survey of nurses and midwives leaving the register revealed that almost a third of respondents cited too much pressure leading to stress and/or poor mental health as a top reason for leaving. And our research with the public tells us they fear these most trusted professionals are held back by the pressures of today’s health and care system.

“You only have to look at some of the stories we are sharing in our Always Caring, Always Nursing campaign to see the difference these dedicated professionals can make in people’s lives.

“Additional resources to support nurses and midwives is a wise investment now and for the future.”

You can sign a petition to support the campaign. 

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Emergency Medicine

People living in deprived areas visit A&E twice as much as the affluent

Nearly 25 million people attended A&E in 2018-19.

Laura Townsend

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Busy A&E waiting room

Over a quarter of all A&E attendances are by the 20% of the population living in the most deprived areas.

Accident & Emergency (A&E) attendances for those living in most deprived areas are around double that of those living in the least deprived, official figures have revealed.

NHS Digital’s data on Hospital Accident & Emergency Activity in 2018-19 show that the bottom 10% account for the largest number of A&E attendances of any group, with just over 3 million attendances in 2018-19. In contrast, the top 10% only accounted for around 1.5 million A&E attendances.

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Expanding these figures further shows that 27% of all A&E attendances are by the 20% of the population living in the most deprived areas.

A recent study suggested that socioeconomic such as poor housing quality, unemployment, self-care difficulties, depression, and proximity increased a person’s likelihood of attending an A&E service.

The report includes data from all types of Accident and Emergency departments ranging from major A&E departments, single specialty, consultant-led emergency departments to Minor Injury Units and Walk-in Centres.

An overall increase in attendances.

Looking at all arrival times, 1.5% of all attendances in 2018-19 spent more than 12 hours in A&E, compared with 1.6% the previous year.

The data also shows a 4% increase in attendances to A&E from 23.8 million in 2017-18 to 24.8 million in 2018-19 and a 21% increase from 20.5 million in 2009-10. Since 2009-10, the average growth in A&E attendances per year is 2%.

An NHS spokesperson said; “Over a busy summer, NHS staff have continued to deliver more care than ever before for those who need it, with 37,000 more people receiving A&E treatment within four hours this August compared with last August.”

“July also saw the highest ever number of people in a month benefiting from fast NHS cancer checks, other routine tests and rapid treatment for serious mental health problems, while an extra 1,600 people started planned treatment every day compared to last year, showing that every part of the health service is playing its part in meeting the rising demand for care.”

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