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Hospital asking nurses to clean wards ‘risky’ and shows ‘little respect’ for staff

Specialist nurses at an NHS hospital have been told they may be taken off clinical shifts to help clean wards, it has emerged.

Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has said it asked nursing staff to help clean wards as the hospital faced the “most challenging circumstances” it has ever faced.

Clinical specialist nurses, who are advanced nurses and can usually have hundreds of patients under their care, were among those asked to spend entire shifts helping other wards “cleaning”, “tidying” and “decluttering”.

The news has prompted criticism from unions, however, multiple nurses have reported that the requests happen “often” during winter.

Alison Leary professor of healthcare and workforce at South Bank University warned that asking specialist nurses to drop their work was “very risky”.

She said: “This problem keeps cropping up-as soon as there is pressure on wards they are expected to abandon their patients. It usually happens in winter and so it’s concerning that it has now started to happen in summer.

“This also shows very little respect for nursing generally and will not help retention. Trusts need to plan workforces accordingly and should ensure they have the right amount of cleaning, administrative and housekeeping staff-all staff groups which contribute to patient safety and care quality."

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Source: The Independent, 8 August 2022


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