Gavin Maclure's Musings

My take on politics locally, nationally and internationally

Cameron takes on the nurses (sort of)

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I’ve written before about the terrible nursing care in some of our hospitals, graphically described in the Care Quality Commission reports. Elderly people have been worst affected by nurses thinking that the basics like washing a patient, taking them to the toilet, giving them water and managing their pain are beneath them. This is a horrific scandal with the CQC reporting that at some hospitals, including Ipswich Hospital, the standard of nursing care was so bad it was actually illegal – although I haven’t seen anyone up in front of a judge yet!

So it was a welcome intervention from David Cameron yesterday when he outlined an action plan to force nurses to care properly for their patients. Of course, being the blessed public sector, you can’t sack them for leaving an elderly man wallowing in his own faeces, which would be one way of improving nursing standards overnight. Hence why private sector health provision provides higher quality and greater efficiency than the NHS could ever manage, despite receiving billions each year from the taxpayer.
The Prime Minister announced nurses will be told to do regular ward rounds, speak to patients once an hour to see if they need help with drinking and eating or need to be moved to be made more comfortable, and the Government will also allow the public to inspect wards for cleanliness, ensure food is being provided and that patients are being treated with dignity.  Anger is boiling inside me as I write this. Why should the most senior politician in the land have to step in and tell nurses to care first with everything else coming second? The nurses who allowed patients to suffer unnecessarily, as the CQC found during their inspections last year, should be found, sacked and then prosecuted in a court of law. But of course this won’t happen as David Cameron recognises.
Mr Cameron said on Radio 4’s Today programme yesterday: 

“Politicians frankly have done nurses a disservice by not talking about this. Such is our respect for nurses that we have almost hidden away concerns about this.”

The Prime Minister went on to say he had heard some “chilling” stories from his own constituents in Oxfordshire and now was the time to “speak up and act”.

For too long every politician in the land, as I have written before, has gone on about how “wonderful” our nurses and doctors are, as if they were all one step away from Canonisation. Instead, a large number of NHS hospital staff were one step away from being arrested for abuse.

Naturally, Labour, in response to the Government’s initiative, were quick to spout the Left’s rhetoric which has led to our elderly relatives being treated so appallingly when they are most vulnerable. The Shadow Health Secretary, Andy Burnham said:

“If the Prime Minister really wants to help nurses focus on patient care, he should listen to what they are saying and drop his unnecessary Health Bill.”

As with race relations and also with public health, the Left has hijacked the English language. During Labour’s 13 years in power if anyone was ever to criticise our beloved doctors and nurses they would be howled down. This forced David Cameron to prostrate himself in front of the NHS altar when in Opposition. It took a Government quango, the Care Quality Commission, to report what many NHS users and relatives already knew about the health service: apart from being highly bureaucratic and inefficient our hospitals are very dangerous places to be in through a lack of care for patients and infections (caused in part because of a lack of care for cleanliness).

Disappointingly, Mr Cameron’s announcement yesterday was heavily hedged. He knows he can’t go head-on to root out the nurses who think they are above even feeding an elderly lady as the unions and Guardianista would eat him for breakfast. Perhaps a conviction-oriented leader, one not pinned down by the yellow peril, would deal with the impact “our beloved NHS” has on the health of the people? The time for serious surgery is still to come.


Author: gavinmaclure

IT professional; political blogger, former Conservative councillor

One thought on “Cameron takes on the nurses (sort of)

  1. This illustrates why the Health Bill must be enacted as soon as possible – STAFFORD, anyone? – and how Labour is the representative of the producer and not the consumer.

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