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New minister for suicide prevention consistently votes for cuts in welfare for societies most vulnerable

Theresa May has announced the appointment of Health Minister Jackie Doyle-Price to the new role minister for suicide prevention.

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Jackie Doyle-Price
UKGOV

The new minister for suicide prevention has consistently voted for cuts in welfare for the most vulnerable in society.

Theresa May has announced the appointment of Health Minister Jackie Doyle-Price to the new role minister for suicide prevention in order to tackle the stigma surrounding suicide.

The appointment comes on World Mental Health Day when officials from more than 50 countries assemble in London for a summit.

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According to the website TheyWorkForYou, Ms. Doyle-Price has consistently voted to reduce housing benefit, voted against raising benefits in line with inflation, voted against paying higher benefits over longer periods for those unable to work due to illness or disability and voted forty-six times for an overall reduction in spending on welfare benefits.

Statistics show that those with long-term physical or mental health issues are significantly more likely to be dependent on the state for assistance with housing and living costs.

Social isolation, financial and health struggles are thought to be some of the leading risk factors for preventable suicide in the UK.

Not all suicides are mental health related.

Vicki Nash, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Mind, said: “it’s not just about mental health services, because the reasons for suicide are many and complicated. Life can be challenging and living with a mental health problem can make day-to-day life that much harder to manage. Mind found that half of people with mental health problems have thought about or attempted suicide as a result of social issues such as housing issues, finances, benefit support, and employment. We need a benefits system that is supportive – not one that drives people into poverty.

“Universal Credit is already causing problems for many people with mental health problems. The Department for Work and Pensions’ own figures have found that half of people with long-term health conditions receiving Universal Credit are in financial difficulties and struggling to keep up with rent and bills.”

“We are extremely concerned about the prospect of ‘managed migration’. Although the name suggests a smooth transition onto the new benefit, the Government’s current proposals would see everyone on existing benefits forced to make a new claim within a short space of time.”

“It’s completely unfair to place all the responsibility on severely unwell people to have to reapply for a new benefit and risk losing their income in the process. Given the strong relationship between the fear of losing benefits and suicides, it’s paramount that the Government takes these wider issues into account, and makes sure people get the right support to deal with difficult life circumstances, reducing the chance of people of taking their own lives.

Before adding; “The first job for Jackie Doyle-Price in her role must be to scrap current proposals for‘managed migration’ – a process that could leave a huge number of people with mental health problems without support from benefits and struggling to survive.”

Suicide is preventable.

Catherine Gamble, Royal College of Nursing Professional Lead for Mental Health, said: “The appointment of the first Minister for Suicide Prevention is good news, and the College is keen to work with the new ministerial taskforce.  Suicide is preventable, yet people still find it too hard to access support when they need it most. This announcement goes some way towards treating people with severe mental illness on an equal footing with those suffering from physical health problems.   

“Only a third of those ending their lives are known to mental health services – but many of the other two-thirds will have come into contact with other health professionals such as nursing staff and GPs. Every nurse will encounter someone who is suicidal during their working life, and nurses can play a vital part in suicide prevention. 

“However, they aren’t always being given the training they need to do so at present – we want all nursing degree courses to offer training in this vital area as soon as possible, and for employers to offer on-the-job training too.  Suicide awareness and intervention should be as fundamental to nursing staff as basic life support”.

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Clinical Care

Hourly rounding ‘may not be the best way for nurses to deliver care’, finds study

Hourly rounding places an emphasis on ‘tick box’ care.

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Nurse with patient in bed

Hourly rounding made a minor contribution, if at all, to the way nurses engage with patients.

A new report by researchers at King’s College London has found that the widespread practice of hourly or intentional rounding, may not be the best way for nurses to deliver care to patients.

The report also found that rounding makes a minor contribution, if at all, to the way nurses engage with patients.

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Hourly or intentional rounding involves standardised regular checks with individual patients at set intervals and was introduced in hospitals in England in 2013, with 97% of NHS acute Trusts in England implementing it in some way.

The majority of NHS trusts adopted the ‘4Ps’ (Position, Pain, Personal needs, Placement of items) model of rounding.

The research was commissioned and funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and was led by Professor Ruth Harris in the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care.

Hourly rounding places an emphasis on ‘tick box’ care.

The NIHR report – Intentional rounding in hospital wards to improve regular interaction and engagement between nurses and patients: a realist evaluation – is the first study of its kind in the world.

The study found that rounding placed an emphasis on transactional ‘tick box’ care delivery, rather than individualised care. However, patients were found to value their interactions with nursing staff, which the study argues could be delivered during other care activities and rather than through intentional rounding.

The report also found that rounding was implemented without consultation, careful planning and piloting in the interests of political expediency following the Francis Inquiry Report into care failures in the NHS.

Ruth Harris, Professor of Health Care for Older Adults at King’s College London, said; “Checking patients regularly to make sure that they are OK is really important but intentional rounding tends to prompt nurses to focus on completion of the rounding documentation rather than on the relational aspects of care delivery.

“Few frontline nursing staff or senior nursing staff felt intentional rounding improved either the quality or the frequency of their interactions with patients and their family.”

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Nurses’ ‘worry’ better than most early warning scores, finds study

Nurses were asked to grade patients between ‘no concern’ and ‘extreme concern’. 

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Observations

A sense of worry can provide important information for the detection of acute physiological deterioration.

Nurses’ worry has a “higher accuracy” than most published early warning scores (EWS) at predicting if a patient is becoming more unwell, according to a recent study.

The study looked at 31,159 patient-shifts for 3185 patients during 3551 hospitalisations across two surgical and two medical wards. Researchers compared if the nurses were worried about a patients potential for deterioration using ‘the Worry Factor’ with early warning score indicators.

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Nurses were asked to grade each patient between “no concern” and “extreme concern”.

The Worry Score

Out of 492 potential deterioration events identified, researchers found that when nurses had an increasing worry factor the patient was more likely to require emergency medical treatment – 7 cardiac arrest calls, 86 medical emergency calls and 76 transfers to the intensive care unit.

The study also revealed that accuracy rates were significantly higher in nurses with over a year of experience.

The researchers concluded that “nurses’ pattern recognition and sense of worry can provide important information for the detection of acute physiological deterioration” and was often more reliable than traditional early warning systems.

They also noted that the worry score could be used alone or easily incorporated into existing EWS to potentially improve their performance.

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