The national director for mental health has said she was shocked to discover how many ward managers do not work at weekends, adding this could contribute to abuse and poor care going undetected.
Asked at the NHS Providers conference about recent reports into care scandals, NHS England’s director for mental health Claire Murdoch said it was crucial to listen to frontline staff, such as healthcare assistants, who spend most of their time with patients.
But she added: “[It’s also] making sure your ward managers do work of a night and at the weekend.
“I’ve been a bit shocked to hear that we’ve moved with agenda for change and quite often ward managers are Monday to Friday people.”
Her comments come amid a string of high-profile care scandals, such as at the Edenfield Centre in Greater Manchester, as well as an ongoing debate around seven-day working across the NHS.
It is understood Ms Murdoch is concerned managers are spending too much time on bureaucratic tasks, which typically happen during Monday to Friday shifts, meaning they are then not working night or weekend shifts.
In September, the national director ordered all trusts to carry out safety reviews, warning in a letter they should leave “no stone unturned” in seeking to eradicate and prevent poor care. She also urged all boards to urgently review safeguarding of care in their organisations, and identify any immediate issues requiring action now.
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Source: HSJ, 15 November 2022