Trust offers specialist nurses to help clean wards despite workforce pressure

A hospital trust has discussed asking specialist nurses to help clean service areas due to labor pressures.

Senior staff, including chief nursing officers, from Luton and Dunstable University Hospital, part of Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, met during what the trust described as ‘some of the most difficult circumstances in which we have ever faced”.

“I think it shows very little respect for nursing in general and will not help with retention”

Alison Leary

As a result, a document was circulated proposing that specialist care teams release staff for a full shift, or “a few hours over several days”, to be counted in the service workforce.

If the specialist nurses could not be released for a full shift, they could instead be asked to help clean the service areas, as well as the sluice room and the service and storage rooms, it said. -he declares. They may also be asked to help answer phones and clean high touch points, such as doorknobs and light switches.

A copy of the proposals, which the trust said had not yet been implemented, was pointed out by Professor Alison Leary, chair of health care and workforce modeling at London South Bank University, on social media site Twitter.

Professor Leary said the situation showed ‘very little respect for nursing’ and would not help with staff retention.

“Specialist nurses are usually complex case handlers and are key to keeping people out of hospital,” she said.

“Assuming they can just walk away from their job and it won’t have any effect on the patients or the organization, it’s very risky.

“I think it also shows very little respect for nursing in general and won’t help with retention.”

She added that trusts need to “plan staffing accordingly and ensure they have the right amount of cleaning, administration and housekeeping staff” to contribute to patient safety and quality. care.

“We often hear about strategies like this, usually associated with winter pressures,” Professor Leary added.

“It’s disturbing that I’ve received so many messages about organizations with large outpatient cancer and long-term illness workloads resorting to these measures in mid-summer.”

Last week the trust also reported ‘unprecedented demand’ within its urgent and urgent care services and appealed to the local public to access the right care in the right service.

Some of the pressures were related to a “general increase” in patient demand, alongside an increase in the number of Covid-19 patients and staff shortages, he said.

A Bedfordshire Hospitals Foundation Trust spokesperson said: ‘As an organization we value and appreciate the important contribution that our dedicated nursing staff (including our team of clinical nursing specialists) make to the delivery of healthcare. quality to patients.

“Due to the pressures we are currently under, a discussion took place with senior medical, nursing and management officials to consider how we could ensure that our service teams could receive additional help in some of the most difficult circumstances in which we have ever faced.

“Fortunately, the detailed actions were not necessary and would only be considered if all options had been exhausted and after a broader conversation with those affected.”

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