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Found 85 results
  1. News Article
    The Becker's Clinical Leadership & Infection Control editorial team chose the top 10 patient safety issues for healthcare leaders to prioritise in 2021, presented below in no particular order, based on news, study findings and trends reported in the past year. COVID-19 Healthcare staffing shortages Missed and delayed diagnoses Drug and medicine supply shortages Low vaccination coverage and disease resurgance Clinical burnout Health equity Healthcare-associated infections Surgical mistakes Standardising safety efforts. Read full story Source: Becker's Healthcare, 30 December 2020
  2. News Article
    "There can be no debate: this is now much, much worse than the first wave", says a NHS consultant. "Truly, I never imagined it would be this bad. Once again Covid has spread out along the hospital, the disease greedily taking over ward after ward. Surgical, paediatric, obstetric, orthopaedic; this virus does not discriminate between specialities. Outbreaks bloom even in our “clean” areas and the disease is even more ferociously infectious. Although our local tests do not differentiate strains, I presume this is the new variant. The patients are younger this time around too, and there are so many of them. They are sick. We are full." Read full story Source: The Guardian, 7 January 2020
  3. News Article
    England’s chief nurse has said that NHS and care staff are working incredibly hard to cope with record numbers of COVID-19 patients, amid concern that frontline staff are close to burnout. Ruth May pleaded with the public to follow the coronavirus advice to help relieve the pressure on hospital staff, after two days of record hospital admissions. Adrian Boyle, the vice-president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, told BBC Breakfast that health employees were “tired, frustrated and fed up”. He said: “What is it going to be like over the next couple of months? I don’t know, I am worried. We are very much at battle stations. “There will be short-term surges of morale but people are tired, frustrated and fed up, as everybody is, whether they work in hospital or not. The people who go into emergency medicine expect it to be tough from time to time. “There is a real worry about burnout.” Read full story Source: BBC News, 1 January 2021
  4. News Article
    A major London trust’s critical care staff have urged leaders to review elective work targets amid serious concerns over workload, safe staffing and burnout, HSJ has learned. In a letter to Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust’s board, staff represented by trade union Unite said they had “repeatedly” raised concerns about the provider’s approach to elective work, as well as winter pressures and second wave planning, and the implications this has had for “the health, safety and wellbeing of both staff and patients”. The letter — which was also addressed to the trust’s health and safety committee and has been seen by HSJ — said: “Our primary concern is that the trust’s endeavours, and understandable need to square these circles, may be unrealistic given the current pressures on staffing and the high rates of sickness and burnout the trust is continuing to experience. “This is especially in critical care, where we are concerned this may compromise patient safety and is already damaging staff wellbeing and morale.” Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 18 December 2020
  5. News Article
    There are not enough nurses to safely care for patients in the UK, according to the body that represents the profession, and many of those who are working are suffering from anxiety and burnout after a gruelling nine months treating Covid patients. A year after the prime minister pledged during the 2019 election campaign to add 50,000 nurses to the NHS, the Royal College of Nursing has accused Boris Johnson of being “disingenuous” for claiming the government is meeting this 2025 target. Johnson claimed last week that the government had “14,800 of the 50,000 nurses already” during prime minister’s questions in the Commons. Yet the latest NHS figures show there were 36,655 vacancies for nursing staff in England in September, with the worst shortages affecting mental health care and acute hospitals. Staff in some intensive care units (ICUs) have quit since the pandemic, with those whom the Observer spoke to choosing to work instead in supermarkets or as dog-walkers. Dame Donna Kinnair, the RCN’s chief executive and general secretary, said: “The simple, inescapable truth is that we do not have enough nursing staff in the UK to safely care for patients in hospitals, clinics, their own homes or anywhere else.” She said that even before the pandemic, “heavy demand” was rising faster than the “modest increases” in staff numbers. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 12 December 2020
  6. News Article
    Across Britain, intensive care nurses and doctors are being pushed to their limits as they try to save lives from coronavirus. During 12-hour shifts in sweltering conditions, they are faced with technical and emotional challenges that many have never faced as they tackle a virus that has swept across the globe in a matter of days, threatening to kill tens of thousands in the UK. Britain has yet to even hit the peak of infections, but intensive care specialists are already asking how long they can keep working relentlessly. “We are trained for and used to dealing with difficult and emotional scenarios, but this is like a major incident that never ends,” says critical care nurse Karin Gerber. As an advanced nurse practitioner in critical care outreach, the 47-year-old sees patients in hospital who are getting sicker and may need to be admitted to intensive care. She says she has never seen anything “at this intensity”. The Royal London Hospital is at the forefront of the capital’s fight against the virus and has created more than 200 extra beds at its Whitechapel site in east London. They are filled with COVID-19 patients. Simon Richards, senior charge nurse at the Royal London’s critical care unit, tells The Independent: “In 20 years as a nurse this situation is by far the worst I have ever seen and totally unexpected, but the team spirit that people have shown has been amazing. “It’s extremely difficult, we are working so hard. The whole team is being pushed to their limit and you do wonder how long can this be sustained for? I wish we could see light at the end of the tunnel.” Read full story Source: The Independent, 24 November 2020
  7. News Article
    "I still have nightmares most nights about being completely out of my depth." Gemma, a ward nurse in Northern Ireland, was redeployed to a critical care unit at the end of March when the first wave of coronavirus struck. "I had never looked after a critically ill intensive care patient in my life," she says. "I just thought, I'm coming in here and I'm going to die. I'm going to catch Covid and I'm going to be one of those patients in the beds." As the second wave of the pandemic takes deep root across parts of the UK, thousands of NHS workers are struggling to recover from what they have already been through. "We were all in PPE all the time," recalls Nathan, a senior intensive care nurse at a hospital in the Midlands. "All you can see is people's eyes, you can't see anything else." He describes trying to help junior members of staff survive long and difficult days. "And I'd see these eyes as big as saucers saying help me, do something. Make this right. Fix this." "The pressure was insane, and the anxiety just got me," he says. "I couldn't sleep, and I couldn't eat, I was sick before work, I was shaking before I got into my car in the morning." Nathan ended up having time off with severe anxiety, but he is now back at the hospital, waiting for the beds to fill up again. The BBC has spoken to a number of nurses and doctors across the UK who are deeply apprehensive about what lies ahead this winter. Read full story Source: BBC News, 24 October 2020
  8. News Article
    Many unpaid carers looking after vulnerable friends or relatives during the coronavirus crisis say they are worried about how they will cope this winter. Almost 6,000 unpaid carers completed a Carers UK online questionnaire. Eight in 10 said they had been doing more, with fewer breaks, since the pandemic began - and three-quarters said they were exhausted. The government said it recognised the "vital role" of unpaid carers. In the Carers UK survey, 58% of carers said they had seen their physical health affected by caring through the pandemic, while 64% said their mental health had worsened. People also said day centres and reductions in other services meant the help they once got had reduced or disappeared, leaving many feeling worn out and isolated. Carers UK wants such services up and running again as a matter of urgency. Helen Walker, chief executive of Carers UK, said: "The majority of carers have only known worry and exhaustion throughout this pandemic. "They continue to provide extraordinary hours of care, without the usual help from family and friends, and with limited or no support from local services." "It's no surprise that carers' physical and mental health is suffering, badly. I am deeply concerned that so many carers are on the brink and desperately worried about how they will manage during the next wave of the pandemic." Read full story Source: BBC News, 20 October 2020
  9. News Article
    Doctors and nurses in areas of northern England with some of the highest Covid infection rates have described being “physically and emotionally” exhausted, as the NHS braces itself for the second wave of the pandemic. Most of the north has been put into the tier 2 “high risk” category, with Merseyside in the highest – tier 3 – bracket. While politicians debate whether a nationwide circuit breaker would be a more effective instrument to curb spread of the virus, frontline staff – still scarred from the first wave – are under no illusions as to what lies in store. Carmel O’Boyle, a nurse in Liverpool, who is also chair of the Royal College of Nursing’s Greater Liverpool and Knowsley branch, said members of the public had used A&E and primary care sparingly during the first national lockdown but mixed messages and a lack of trust in the government had led to people throwing caution to the wind and attendances were rising accordingly. “The nurses across my branch are frightened and exhausted – physically and emotionally,” she said. “They’ve been dealing with this for months and now there are more people in hospitals than there were in March. Although we know a little bit more about how to treat people and the kind of path of the disease process, it’s still frightening. It’s just so demanding and so draining to be nursing people in this manner without any family involvement and with the complications that there are.” A consultant in Manchester, who did not want to be named, said her hospital coped with the first wave but “the difference this time is that we’re trying to continue all of the elective activity and that’s going to be challenging. “I do think that we will manage the Covid cases. I just now worry about whether we will be able to continue to keep the normal care for people who need their operations [and] need care for cancer." Read full story Source: The Guardian, 15 October 2020
  10. News Article
    Gruelling 12-hour shifts, exhaustion and burnout are leading growing numbers of nurses to quit the NHS within three years of joining, new research reveals. Stress, lack of access to food and drink while at work, and the relentless demands of caring for patients are also key factors in the exodus, the King’s Fund thinktank found. The NHS must make it an urgent priority to tackle the worryingly poor working conditions nurses and midwives face in many hospitals or face worsening workforce shortages, it said. “Staff stress, absenteeism and turnover in the professions have reached alarmingly high levels,” the thinktank said after investigating the working conditions faced by NHS nurses and midwives. “This has been compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has laid bare and exacerbated longer-term issues including chronic excessive workload, inadequate working conditions, staff burnout and inequalities, particularly among minority ethnic groups.” Read full story Source: 23 September 2020
  11. News Article
    In April, when the coronavirus outbreak was at its peak in the UK and tearing through hospitals, junior doctor Rebecca Thornton’s mental health took a turn for the worse and she ended up having to be sectioned. Even now, three months later, she cannot face going back to her job and thinks it will take her a year to recover from some of the horrors she saw while working on a Covid ward in a deprived area of London. “It was horrendous,” Thornton recalls. “It’s so harrowing to watch people die, day in, day out. Every time someone passed away, I’d say, ‘This is my fault’. Eventually I stopped eating and sleeping.” Thornton’s case may sound extreme but her experiences of working through Covid are far from unique. More than 1,000 doctors plan to quit the NHS over the government’s handling of the pandemic, according to a recent survey, with some citing burnout as a cause. A psychologist offering services to NHS staff throughout the UK, who asked to remain anonymous, has witnessed the toll on staff. “I’ve seen signs of PTSD in some healthcare workers,” she says. “Staff really stood up to the plate and worked incredibly hard. It was a crisis situation that moved very quickly ... After it subsided a little bit, the tiredness became very clear.” Roisin Fitzsimons, who is head of the Nightingale Academy, which provides a platform to share best practice in nursing and midwifery, and consultant nurse at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS foundation trust, also worries about the looming threat of an uncertain future. “Are our staff prepared? Do they have the resilience to go through this again? That’s the worry and that’s the unknown. Burnout is hitting people now. People are processing and realising what they’ve gone through.” Read full story Source: The Guardian, 8 September 2020
  12. News Article
    Over 1,000 doctors plan to quit the NHS because they are disillusioned with the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and frustrated about their pay, a new survey has found. The doctors either intend to move abroad, take a career break, switch to private hospitals or resign to work as locums instead, amid growing concern about mental health and stress levels in the profession. “NHS doctors have come out of this pandemic battered, bruised and burned out”, said Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden, president of the Doctors’ Association UK, which undertook the research. The large number of medics who say they will leave the NHS within three years is “a shocking indictment of the government’s failure to value our nation’s doctors,” she added. “These are dedicated professionals who have put their lives on the line time and time again to keep patients in the NHS safe, and we could be about to lose them.
  13. Content Article

    Faded rainbows

    Claire Cox
    When driving to work at the beginning of the pandemic, I felt a sense of worry and apprehension of what I would be faced with. As a critical care outreach nurse I never know what I may be faced with, but this has never bothered me. However, during the pandemic it did bother me. I worried how I could do my job; would I get sick and how would I navigate my way through the new ways of working? Seeing the brightly coloured rainbows in people’s windows gave me some hope. I knew that the public were thinking of us; they knew the risks we were putting ourselves at and our families. For a time, I felt special. It sounds pathetic, I know. For a time, I felt valued. Valued by the public, valued by the trust I work for and valued by politicians. As NHS staff we had priority shopping, we had discounts from big stores, we had free parking, we had donations of food every day while we were at work, we were donated hand creams and toiletries. School children drew us pictures to put on the walls of our staff room saying ”thank you”. What made me feel valued more than anything was staff wellbeing being at the forefront. Extra staff were redeployed to work on the ITU, we were made sure we had all our breaks and we were made to feel that each and every one of us counted. Relatives of patients wrote and expressed their gratitude, even if they were unable to visit their dying family – they were truly grateful to us. The ITU where I work received so many beautifully written letters and cards. We pinned every one onto the wall so we were reminded that we were shining bright despite the darkness. Then there was the Thursday clap. Personally, I thought this was an odd thing to do, but it seemed to bring people together and have a shared purpose – even if it was for a fleeting 5 minutes a week. When I think back at those months, it seems like a lifetime ago. Eve Mitchell’s recent blog on the hub highlighted that care homes are receiving complaint letters and some are even receiving threats of litigation. “Not enough PPE”, “lack of care given to my family member”, “my family member was neglected during the pandemic” – frustration and anger are palpable. Frustration and anger because families were unable to visit their relatives in their last days, frustration and anger that these precious moments have been denied from them. If it were my mum or dad would I feel the same? Of course I would. I would be the loudest voice there. Is it the fault of the care home? Should they be vilified for the protection of their residents? And now it’s the turn of the hospitals. We now have over a million people waiting on lists for operations, procedures, appointments. Some have already waited months before the pandemic started. Some have already died as a result of not having surgery at the right time. Patients have received surgery and treatment late and this has led to complications and a longer hospital stay – which then increases their mortality. At some point the gratitude from the public will turn to anger and frustration, as it has with the care homes. Would I be angry if my mum was waiting for an operation and died as a result of a prolonged wait? Yes I would. It is a natural response to blame the very people who should have helped – the NHS staff. I now drive to work and see faded rainbows in windows, I will be paying for parking again in the next few weeks, the donations of food have dried up, staff are back at ‘normal’ levels and I am back to having no breaks some days, not to mention that nurses were not included in the recent pay rise. I feel that we have served our purpose. ‘Thanks very much – now get back to normal, sort the waiting lists out and work harder to make sure it happens’. I don’t envy our senior leaders in acute Trusts. They are stuck in the middle of the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS England who are trying to fathom out a strategy to get the waiting lists down, and support frontline staff who are exhausted and a frustrated public that may erupt at any moment. Frontline workers have been through it the last few months. Navigating our way through complaints and litigation and an angry public who feel that they are not receiving the care that they expect in the coming months fills me with dread. We are not equipped. Faded rainbows – is this a representation of the fading support we are receiving in the NHS?
  14. News Article
    Women working in the NHS are suffering from serious stress and exhaustion in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, a troubling new report has found. Some 75% of NHS workers are women and the nursing sector is predominantly made up of women – with 9 out of 10 nurses in the UK being female. The report, conducted by the NHS Confederation’s Health and Care Women Leaders Network, warns the NHS is at risk of losing female staff due to them experiencing mental burnout during the global pandemic. Researchers, who polled more than 1,300 women working across health and care in England, found almost three quarters reported their job had a more damaging impact than usual on their emotional wellbeing due to the COVID-19 emergency. Read full story Source: The Independent, 25 August 2020
  15. News Article
    MPs have launched an inquiry examining workforce burnout across the NHS and social care, and the system’s ability to manage staff stress amid increased pressures during the COVID-19 pandemic. The House of Commons health and social care committee said it aims to produce a report showing the levels of staff needed in health and social care to tackle exhaustion and meet future challenges. The committee is calling for evidence on how workforce shortages impacted staff well-being and patient care during the pandemic and the areas that need to see recruitment most urgently. Read full story Source: Pulse, 3 August 2020
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