I am the programme leader for the MSc in Gerontology and MSc in Gerontology (with Dementia Care) @uwshealth. You can find out more about the programmes at: https://www.uws.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/postgraduate-course-search/gerontology/ and https://www.uws.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/postgraduate-course-search/gerontology-with-dementia-care/ This blog is designed to highlight older people's issues and issues around older people's care. I will add a new post every Friday.
Well a return to some of the topics that I repeatedly go on about in this blog. So this week saw the release of a groundbreaking paper from Finland (which has very similar staffing levels in their hospitals to UK hospitals), which revealed that having an excessive daily nurse workload increases the risk of patient safety incidents and deaths. The chances of a patient safety incident increased by up to about 30% if nurses’ workload went above what is considered “optimal” levels and the odds of a patient dying increased by about 40%!! As we approach a growing crisis in the UK around nurse numbers, nursing vacancies and difficulties recruiting to the profession this only adds to the call to make nursing a more attractive profession an to introduce safe staffing levels. Not a new message, especially not in my Blog. It is time politicians started listening. This is not going to solve itself while we undervalue all nurses and allied healthcare professionals. If you want to find out more see the Nursing Times and this is the link to the study on BMJ Open .
I am also a big fan of the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Signals have created a My Signals page for Nurses. In the My Signals resources service users, in this case nurses, tell you what research is important to them and why they feel others need to know about it. So go take a look by clicking this link. You can find out more about all of NIHR Signals by clicking here!
Finally tomorrow, Saturday 12th my is International Nurses Day! There are a list of UK events on the Nurses’ Day page and you can follow #ThisNurse on Twitter.
Some weeks are bad weeks but this week could rank as one of the worst for bad news about the NHS and its relationship with older people in a long time.
Firstly we had the revelation that 450,000 women aged between 68-71 had not been invited to routine breast cancer screening due to a computer error, that has been traced back to 2009!. Public Health England has said that it was not aware of a national problem with the screening programme until January 2018, which seems a bit worrying when they were aware at the same time that screening uptake amongst older women was falling. Watch out for the public inquiry and subsequent report particularly since NHS “everywhere else” didn’t have the same problem. Most people are probably unaware that a full review of the NHS breast screening programme was undertaken in 2012. So if you are affected by this systems failure in any way it’s worth looking at THIS REPORT and making your own mind up about the impact that it may have had on you or your loved one. My concern is that if this had been any other group would it have been noticed sooner and acted upon earlier?
As if that wasn’t bad enough a report released today (May 4th. 2018) is probably worse and even more significant. The annual report for 2017 of the Learning Disabilities Mortality Review (LeDeR) was released today and did make the national news. Their findings are very worrying and point to problems with institutional discrimination across services dealing with people with learning disabilities to the extent that life expectancy at birth if you have a learning disability is 19.7 years lower than for people without learning disabilities. Equally disturbing is that more than a third of deaths of people with learning disabilities were potentially amenable to health care interventions. Again much more will be said about this in the coming days and months so it’s worth taking a look at the primary source, which you can see and download from THIS SITE.
I haven’t even mentioned the dementia care ward at Glan Clwyd Hospital, in Denbighshire which closed in 2013 and it’s culture of “institutional abuse”. Too sad to go there but if you want to know more see this BBC Wales TIMELINE