Welcome to my Blog. I hope you find the posts interesting, informative and perhaps even entertaining(!). I'll update this Blog with my responses to topical stories of the day, important news and tales of my travels up and down the UK, meeting our inspirational nursing staff.

The RCN represents almost 400,000 nurses in the UK and is the country's largest nursing union.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

The real picture

We will see from the papers and rolling news coverage today that nursing care has been criticised by the Patients’ Association.

Now, the examples of care that they describe in their report are totally unacceptable and I won’t for a moment defend poor care.

However, I believe that it must be made clear that whilst this report does provide some unacceptable examples of care, they are not representative of the healthcare service as a whole or the experience of the vast majority of patients.

This is reflected in the fact that last survey of patients by the Care Quality Commission found that over 90 per cent rated the care they received as good, very good or excellent.

Here at the RCN, we have urged patients and their families to raise their concerns if they encounter substandard care so that investigations can take place.

I said in a press statement today, everyone in the NHS must remain focussed on care, compassion and empathy - NHS and nursing values - in order to improve the quality of care for patients.


  1. Shame on you for using the survey of patients by the Care Quality Commission as an excuse to cover up the appalling standards of nursing care in this country. Firsly, you can't survey the dead. Secondly,I wasn't invited to be surveyed otherwise I could have recounted appalling experiences of nursing care. Some of this is observing not only disgusting treatment of patients but also the ignorance of some of the relatives who stuck to the imposed visitng times. They were blissfully unaware of the treatment their loved onse were receiving. But I was with my dying husband day and night and saw first hand what went on when they weren't around. They would have been devastated to know the facts. You are in denial of the real situation and God forgive you for sitting back and ignoring this. I actually hope that one day you will have to be at the mercy of the medical profession and then you will know the truth. As for bothering about morale - that is the least of the problems. Morale will improve when this culture of cruelty is rectified. No dec human being could stand to be part of this and most of the good nurses have left the profession. Now start monitoring and managing the staff and discipline poor nursing care. Perhaps the good ones will return. Shame on you for your response to this report.

  2. Here here Renate. Dr Peter Carter you should be ashamed of yourself. The things you have written here are either born from complete ignorance (in which case you shouldn't be the Chief Executive & General Secretary of the RCN) or they're down right lies! The level of care provided by nurses is appauling. The whole NHS is a crock - GPs that can't refer people properly, surgeons that can't be bothered to start work half an hour early, consultants that can't diagnose, managers that can't manage and nurses that don't have a caring bone in their body. It's inhumane. I know of numerous people, friends, relatives and friends of friends who have received terrible treatment in hospitals. Many of whom are dead now - and that's just the people I know. Were they surveyed? I think not. Don't you spout that this treatment is in the minority. Far from it I can tell you! You need to get your act together and stop posting this utter garbage. If you don't wake up and see this for what it really is, then you should be struck off too. TELL THE TRUTH!

  3. reality;my wife was diagnosed with terminal cancer 3/1/08,died 6/10/08 whilst in the care of southend university hospital.5 doctors are being reported to the G.M.C.,she died as a result of their negligence and failures in nursing care in cluding 2 senior nurses who administered a chemo infusion in 8 hours instead of the required 24.they signed it off.thought they were there to check each other?logged as a clinical incedent,they received councelling!!!! poor bloody them.what about the psychological effects on my wife?and the nurse to was the bully on the ward,others were in fear of her ,who tried to take my wifes meds,and said she was only on 5 pills.more like 25.or the nurse who said she hadn't got time to read the drug chart after my wife had 2 fits that nearly killed her,i saved her not them,they were nowhere near her.the patients file records her becoming ill at 11.30 in the morning ,they make notes as she's detiorating,she's told them but the do nothing to alleviate the crash course she is on.or the nurse who after she was readmitted with kidney failure as a result of the fitting of a hickman line that was mismanaged,engineered visits from the family and caused confrontation and anguish because she told them my wife was going to die in the next 24 hours,it was malicious and done deliberately,it was nasty and cruel.my wife had revived and wasn't going anywhwereat that point.or the failure to tell the district nurses when she had the hickman line,the shortage in required meds on discharge,the failure to ever give her a discharge letter ,so that we are with our G.P.s having to explain what happened in hospital and the meds she is on.it is not the patients job!!!! my wife was in healthcare for 30 years,administered drugs and maintained legally required records,she would never have done this.or the time they failed to give her her required meds and the time they tried to give her the same ones twice which she pointed out.the nurse admitted it,she had not recorded it on the drug chart,a legal requiremwent.there were failures in the duty of care across the board,while extreme ,from what i saw and heard ,no way isolated on that ward.it was so bad that good nurses,and thewre were a lot they are friends refused to work there and asked from transfers.a senior nurse,who was noe on another ward said loudly in front of a group of doctors and nurses we had been trated disgustingly.a senior hosptital manager,not directly involved has said he is ashaned of the hospitals actions both before and after.the complaints manage.ris an ex nurse on the same ward who moved to admin.he'd already said something really stupid to my wife after the infusion went wrong,3 weeks after,another thoughtless,tasteless comment,like so many.he's screwd up the complaint process,kept us waiting for a meeting to anaylis the screw up and still continues to do so to the point i have said i have no confidence in him and no longer want him involved in the case.they are still causing pain and anger.
    i have six pages of apologies,errors mistakes made etc,etc from the director of nursing.all we wanted was the basic care that she was due,she failed to get it and for her to die with dignity at the place of her choice.that right was denied by the callous action s of your professionals both doctors and nurses.
    you should be ashamed of yourself,you are either in denial or so arrogant,like a lot of your colleauges that the care and outcome of a life doe's not matter.
    there has been an external review of her case and it concludes her care was crap.!!!
    as isaid to their faces,allthose involved during and after should be ashamed of themselves.it was so bad it may well become a police matter .
    get real man,i'm sure if there were mistakes with your salary,you'd be creating merry hell and shouting from the rooftops.well i am because it was a disgace and so preventable.

  4. David I feel desperately sorry for you. I too have experienced many similar things to you. Apart from the gross negligence the nurses, consultants and registrars demonstrated - e.g. forgetting to administer drugs and record them, to leave people in soiled bed clothes and unable to reach their food, cyring out in agony for hours for pain relief, they also made some very nasty comments. For example, one registrar said at the top of her voice to one chap on my father's ward "not to worry Mr x, you are no where near as bad as the rest of the cases on this ward". In my father's last two weeks, one of the staff came to speak to him and she actually asked him how long he thought he had left. When he said 6 months - we all broke down in front of him. What was the point in asking him that.

    My father was left so long for help getting to the toilet that he tried to make it to the toilet himself (there was only one working toilet on the entire ward). No one helped him and he must have fallen trying to sit on the toilet and was left on the floor because the nurses had tied the alarm cord up so it couldn't be reached. He was black and blue and covered in blood when we arrived early in the morning to being our daily routine of nursing for him and the other patients on the ward. The nurses didn't bother to phone us to tell us my father had fallen. They just let us arrive and see him in that terrible state. The stories are endless like this - I could go on and on. They stuck the knife in and twisted it one last time when my father was due to be transferred to a hospice to die... one particularly vicious nurse told us to arrive at 11am for him to be transferred by ambulance. We'd made it clear we wanted to be there to help him and pack up his things. Another nurse then told us she thought it had been booked a couple of hours earlier, so we checked with the other nurse who assured us it was 11am. When we arrived, my fathers bed was empty! Can you imagine that? That nasty piece of work had deliberately lied to us so we would miss it. My Dad was totally shocked and upset by this because he wanted my mother there to help him - they'd just slung all his things into the case and sent him packing. They also made a point of stopping doing his observations about three days before he left - how obvious was that to him that they'd given up?! They went round all the other patients in the ward taking their temperature and blood pressure etc and then just walked passed his bed?! They were nasty, cruel human beings. With this sort of treatment, I'm never surprised to hear when nurses are assaulted by relatives. No one ever asks the question - why were they assaulted. Come on Dr Carter - stop ignoring this.

  5. thanks natasha,in a way it is comforting to know from other postings these are not isolated incidents but it is a scandal that some many reflect the same underlying causes across the board.we can't all be wrong and dr peter carter should sit up and take notice if he has a decent shred of humanity in him.well do you?
    a consultant said to us'it's a game',something he now deeply regrets because the whole hospital knows he said it,i suggested he take his pension pot and retire if he could not work in the system,name dr joe o'brian.the 30 year old oncology registrar who refused to see her,said she was nothing to do with him he didn't know her and that she had been seen that day by a doctor.he was part of her oncology team,she hadn't been seen,the nurses told him that and he was wrong.no apology he walked away and sat down.name dr tom richards.and he lied about his actions till he was caught out and so did his boss who at the end tried to throw my wife out telling her they could not give 24/7 care,washing their hands of a situation they had caused,abrogating responsibility.he also earlier in januarydid not pass on information or case history when requested in a phone call by the macmillan triage nurse.this is all recorded in the cross care log.his reasons,he's busy and gets lots on phone calls!!!!! they were trying to help my wife for gods sake.another failure in the duty of care as was not writing up the patient records so he could not clearly recall what was said or done.good job i could,had records and whitnesses.name,dr.david tsang.the screw up with the hickman line and mismanagement,dr grahame tosh,clinical director and head of palliative care,top doctor in the hospital!!!!! i have a degree of respect for him because he has taken full responsibility for what he did.finally the decision not to give discharge letters was taken by dr.colin trask,head of oncology dept and there is something very strange going on there ,a sort of cover up.either way my wife never had a discharge letter with consequences for her care.would you like the list of nurses as well or the administrators who have faallen short.one reason i have applied pressure with results is that we were lucky enough to know people from our respective carears who have been useful,including hospital board members and we knew what we were doing and how 'the system' worked.well they had a big mistake in what they did to her and an even bigger one taking me on.they will learn even if it is painful for them and they will change.
    dr peter carter take note and do the same,firstly recognise the problem exists,the scale of it ,then address the changes required before you are forced to .

  6. Well done to all who have posted here. The ~RCN response was defensive and an insult to all those who have suffered in the ways described. Yes there are many excellent committed nurses out there, but the RCN instead of worrying about poor morale, should be working with the NMC to make it easier to get rid of the bad, thus raising the morale of the good. The figures discussed are meaningless. How much bad practice goes unreported, problably more than that which is reported.

  7. Weston Area Health Trust (Weston General Hospital) was guilty of a catalogue of appalling nursing care, errors, omissions, delays, breaches in policy/guidelines and protocol in the nine and a half days leading up to my dear mother's death last November. We were not offered a satisfaction survey to complete and our formal complaint has not even been allocated a reference number (so will it count in the statistics? - anybody's guess!) Ststistcis are not people and the NHS needs to ask itself what proportion of the elderly, poorly treated, patient popluation would actually complete an adverse survey response or submit a formal complaint. Those who survive would be too scared that a complaint would adversely impact on any future care and would, understandably, also wish to put the distressing episode behind them. The relatives of those who fail to survive might just feel too fragile to embark on the cumbersome, formal complaint process.
    Since we embarked on the process of trying to discover what happened to our mother while in the "care" of the hospital, we have been faced with evasiveness, inaccuracies, defensiveness, rudeness and a whole raft of conflicting information from senior staff members - not to mention the release of our mother's medical records to a third party against the express, written wishes of the family. The Chief Executive has now "respectfully" asked that we make no further conatact with the Trust on the matter of our mother's care. Why? The Trust has certainly not conducted a full investigation and seems either oblivious to or unconcerned with the poor standards of nursing (and other care) highlighted in our complaint.
    We, the family, have been denied certain pieces of information and documentation (contrary to our legal rights) and are, it seems, being treated as nothing more nor less that irritants.
    Statistics? I doubt the appalling care meted to our mother figures anywhere in anyone's figures.

  8. P.S.
    Another elderly lady very dear to my heart died six days after my Mum (in another hospital). Again, care was appalling.
    These are not isolated incidents - they are far too common.