Ann Bradshaw

What Is the Nursing and Midwifery Council Doing About Nursing Shortages?

by Dr. Ann Bradshaw "We don’t want to rely on overseas labour," said the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on September 26th about the shortage of HGV drivers. But this same Government is relying on overseas nurses from Africa to fill the dire nursing shortage that currently means cancer patients are not being treated. At the end of July, the U.K. Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding to import 20,000 Kenyan nurses. Kenyan Labour and Social Protection Cabinet Secretary, Simon Chelugui, said the Kenyan Government had embarked on exporting highly skilled healthcare workers and professionals abroad. He said the U.K. Government has also committed to building the capacity of Kenya's medical training colleges and universities to train more nurses. Notwithstanding the morality of importing nurses from Africa, this involves what seems to me a contradiction: Kenya has a surplus of nurses and the U.K. is "building the capacity" of Kenya’s universities to "train more nurses". But what is the U.K. Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) – nursing’s professional body – doing to respond to the U.K’s nursing shortage? It recently published research findings into pre-registration nursing and midwifery education to bring about change. So what are its findings and how will the change benefit patients? Reading its website is confusing and contradictory. "The research we commissioned, including the majority of our stakeholders’...

What are We to Make of the 40.5% Hospital Acquired Covid Infection?

by Dr. Ann Bradshaw According to SAGE’s briefing paper to Government, published February 12th 2021, but considered at the SAGE 78 meeting on January 28th, in the first wave of Covid infections up to 40.5% were caught in hospital. An earlier version of this paper was presented at SAGE 63 on October 22nd 2020. So the Government was aware of this three months earlier but does not appear to have publicised it. This shocking statistic is brought to life by the death of Captain Sir Tom Moore, who tested positive for Covid in a Bedfordshire Hospital, where there were significant numbers of similar cases. So it is both surprising and shocking that hospital spread has hardly been considered by the Government or indeed, been of concern to the media. Why is this?  Hospital spread infection is not a new problem. In 2008 the King’s Fund published a Briefing Paper on Health Care Associated Infections in hospitals, subtitled “Stemming the Rise of the Superbug”. MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) had increased dramatically: from fewer than 100 incidents in 1990, to more than 5,000 in 2001. Although part of the increase was probably the result of better identification and reporting. There were nearly 50,000 cases of clostridium difficile in 2007 reported in acute trusts in patients aged 65 years and over. Between 2004 and 2006,...

All Hands on Deck

by Dr Ann Bradshaw Mary Celeste The huge body of student nurses in training is not being mobilised onto the front line in the Covid pandemic crisis, as I wrote in Spiked recently. Beds aren’t the problem, it is said. It’s the shortage of doctors and nurses. On December 27th the Sunday Times stated that hospitals have been ordered to mobilise their "surge capacity" in the face of soaring Covid infections, staff absence and longer patient stays. Amanda Pritchard, NHS Chief Operating Officer, ordered trusts to use the independent sector, community provision, specialist hospitals and the Nightingale Hospitals. Some hospitals in London are now operating above 100% ICU capacity and are said to be near "breaking point". The following day the Telegraph reported that the London Nightingale hospital was even being dismantled. This desperate need for health care staff in the Covid crisis was clear at the start of the outbreak of the pandemic. Health Education England (HEE), the Education Commissioning Branch of the NHS worked together with nursing and other organisations on a national response. At this time, students came forward to work in their clinical placements as paid members of the NHS health care team. By July, 28,108 student nurses and student midwives had opted into and been eligible for paid employment. In June, although the pandemic was...

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