Senior nurses warn on patient care
Hospitals need a ‘no blame culture’ on reporting of strengths and weaknesses
Hospital managers need to guarantee nursing/patient ratios, a seminar on safe patient care in Dublin has been told.
Up to 300 members of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation heard health professionals express concern for patient safety in the wake of last year’s report of the Francis Inquiry in the UK.
The Francis report found as many as 500 patients at a hospital run by the Mid- Staffordshire Foundation Trust could have died from unsafe practices and poor patient care.
Dr Philip Crowley, director of the Quality and Patient Safety Division of the HSE, told the seminar there needed to be “no blame culture” for reporting among nurses, midwives and front line managers.
He said there needed to be an open discussion about strengths and weaknesses in patient care in every hospital.
Dr Peter Carter gave a critique of the Francis report and said many of the problems arose, in the Mid-Satffordshire experience and elsewhere, because senior hospital management were not listening properly to frontline staff.
While staff frequently did report difficulties and inadequate staffing levels he said, the UK investigation had found the hospital managers did not fully engage on the issue.
Liam Doran, general secretary of the INMO, said lessons must be learned from the Francis report and one of the key issues was that patient/nursing levels had to be actively managed to ensure an adequate level of cover.
He said in the wake of the Francis report, the INMO had recently completed a survey of 100 hospital wards in Ireland and preliminary results showed much cause for concern on the point of staffing levels.
INMO president Claire Mahon said all 290 recommendations of the Francis report should be considered from an Irish perspective in the light of “six consecutive years of health service cutbacks leading to an overall reduction of over €3billion in health expenditure.”
“”In pursuing this cutback agenda the serious staffing situation which now exists remains ignored by health service management and government who continue to seek further reductions in the name of cost containment,” she said.