There might be some truth in this

Yes, it\’s anecdotal, from an aggrieved relative.


Her daughter, whose complaint prompted a damning report by the health watchdog on Thursday, believes the problem was the attitude of nurses who do not want to provide basic support to frail pensioners who need help eating, drinking, washing or going to the lavatory.

“What they’ve got to do is have a new system of monitoring and training, and appoint lower-level nurses.”

Angela Lawrence, a retired BBC journalist, said: “Because nurses are educated to degree level, they are contemptuous of low-level care. They think it’s beneath them.

If everyone is indeed now a degreed professional, who is doing the nursing?

19 thoughts on “There might be some truth in this”

  1. I suspect the decline in nursing care owes a lot to the increased remuneration of medical staff. Nowadays you get a lot less of them for your money, maybe too few to provide a quality service. And let’s face it, looking after old-folks isn’t exactly the fun end of nursing; a degree of antipathy towards wrinklies doubtless existed even back in the mythical golden age of nursing.

  2. This was always the likely outcome of “Raising the standard of nursing to degree level.”.

    The rationale given for it was to ‘professionalize’ nursing, however the result is that we have lost the caring.

    From the age of 19 until her mid-30’s, my mother was a childrens nurse. She had no real qualifications other than a school certificate (late 1940’s) and the training she was given to be a nurse.

    In her later years she returned to nursing as a SRN in a nursing home, looking after exactly the people who are at issue here. Talking to her just before her death this January, she told me that she looked after the old because it assuaged her guilt at being unable to look after her mother (in Ireland) when she had cancer as she needed to work and raise 3-boys.

    The only place you see this type of attitude nowadays is in the nursing auxiluaries. The ‘professional’ degree qualified nurses have it programmed out of them as ‘detachment’ is the proper attitude to adopt within a clinical environment.

    It breaks my heart…

  3. As a former nurse and speaking from experience, you can’t learn nursing from a book.

    I learned practical nursing skills from some of the most caring individuals I have ever met. Captain Shepherd may have been a Tartar on the wards but she was the best tutor I ever had and always went to bat for her medics.

    The newspaper report yesterday made my blood boil – that elderly patients have to be prescribed water!!! FFS that was our first duty of the day, making sure that every patient had a jug of water and a glass at their bedside, and their fluid intake and output strictly monitored. If we ever found ourselves standing idle at the nurses station, we always got our arses well and truly kicked and if our duties were complete we were instructed to go and chat to the patients.

    NHS – then envy of the world? Absolute rubbish. The sooner that myth is exploded, the better.

  4. The Pedant-General

    There is also the change in the mgmt structure and ethos.

    I would be fairly certain that, pre-NHS, the doctor finding himself prescribing water would not in fact prescribe water. He would go upstairs to find the Director of the hospital, get him out of his office and together they would go, immediately, to the ward where they would summarily dismiss, on the grounds of gross negligence and with immediate effect, first the Matron and quite probably all the nurses on that ward.

    They would then gather the remaining staff a read them the riot act.

    We have to ask why the doctor in this case was not able to do this.

  5. The Pedant-General

    “a retired BBC journalist”

    That speaks volumes too. Can you imagine her trying to get airtime for this story at the BBC before she retired?

  6. What’s needed are “Q”patients (see ww1 naval history).
    A team of old folk planted on wards to spy on “nursing” staff.
    If they are treated well then a little anon bonus of some kind for staff .

    If treated badly then another and much nastier team visits the nursing staff and beats the shit out of them.
    That way the nurses will never know if the old person they are looking after is genuine or someone marking them for a hiding if they don’t do their job.

  7. No doubt “a lack of resources” will be claimed as the reason, which is half true but the ‘resource’ is basic compassion, not money

  8. @John Galt: “This was always the likely outcome of “Raising the standard of nursing to degree level.”.”

    As the dear old NHS Blog Doctor used to point out…

  9. @Rob: “No doubt “a lack of resources” will be claimed as the reason, which is half true but the ‘resource’ is basic compassion, not money”

    It most certainly isn’t the former, as Queens Hospital, whose shabby ‘care’ no doubt hastened my father’s last few days (certainly made them less comfortable) could afford a concert pianist to entertain the ‘customers’ in the lobby.

    They’d have been far better off spending that money on employing and training competent, caring staff, rather than minimally-effective box-ticking morons.

  10. Re Pedant General’s 1st comment:

    Matron wouldn’t need a bollocking. Matron would be the one doing the bollocking and making sure that the nursing care in her ward was of the highest standard.

    The Matrons I worked under stood no nonsense from the doctors or nurses alike, and sometimes those patients who were obviously trying it on.

  11. If the sister in charge is an “old fashioned” nurse then she knows all the patients on the ward and what is required. The new style nurses are so engrossed in their paper work they do not check on what is happening on the ward.

    Add to that the fact tha some of the auxiliaries are not trained properly and the degreed nurses feel that they are above the basics such as bed pans, then you have a recipe for disaster.

    My mother required help in feeding so I used to be in the hospital for breakfast lunch and dinner, otherwise she would have starved to death.

    I was fortunately in a position not only to complain but to complain publicly. The situation has been remedied – but it shouldn’t be up to a lay person – it should have been spotted by the so called professionals.

  12. “If everyone is indeed now a degreed professional, who is doing the nursing?”


    Nurses are too posh* to wipe bums these days, there’s nobody else (they all got promoted to the main office), so the bums go un-wiped.

    * Or, possibly, too busy discussing last night’s party

  13. Just more proof the NHS is run for the benefit of the employees not the ‘customers’, aka the poor bl**dy patients.

    I read somewhere (the Spectator I think) that the LibDems are kicking up about the NHS reforms and demanding that no-one may profit from providing healthcare. What do they think the current employees are doing? Providing their tender mercies for free? Working for minimum wage for good of the nation? Not a bit of it, they are milking the NHS for everything they can in salary, pensions, sick pay, holidays etc etc.

    Scrap the NHS, give everyone who qualifies (British citizens only) a voucher for whatever value is spent on our behalf now, draw up a basic level of care all insurers must provide if they offer insurance, and let the market do its work.

    Won’t be many nurses sitting around on their *rses when their job depends on Granny not starving to death on their watch.

  14. We’re had three children in three different countries. The UK was the worst, with the nursing staff milling about the front desk chatting the day away while I did the cleaning, changing and other duties. Singapore was the best. Brisk, professional and very punctual. Never had to ask for a thing.

  15. Nobody ever asks or answers this question. As feminists are anti-male and children, who is going wipe their bums when they get old?

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