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21 records found from year 2006

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Saturday, 29 July 2006 09:29
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Research revealed by Britain's largest mortgage lender the Halifax shows that key public sector workers are priced out of the property market in two-thirds of Britain’s towns.

Nurses, policemen, teachers, ambulance workers and firemen can no longer afford to buy an average priced house in 65% of towns, compared with just 24% five years ago.

Martin Ellis, chief economist at Halifax, said key workers had been "hit hard" by the strength of the property market since 2001.

"Now it is difficult for key workers to buy the average house not only in the south of England but also in significant parts of the Midlands, northern England, Wales and Scotland," he said.

"It is important that the Government continues to develop schemes to help key workers onto the property ladder and to ensure that these schemes are not confined to southern England.

"The presence of sufficient key workers is critical to the smooth functioning of life in our cities and towns."

Seven out of 10 of the most affordable towns for key workers in the UK are in Scotland, the survey said.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said the findings confirmed key workers faced difficulty in getting a foot on the property ladder throughout the UK.

Dr Beverly Malone, general secretary of the RCN, said: "It's really important that nurses can afford to live near their place of work if we are to keep them within the profession doing what really matters - caring for patients.

"It would be a disaster for the health service if we drive out key workers from our cities and towns because there is no suitable and affordable housing”.

She said the RCN welcomed the Government's HomeBuy scheme to help first-time buyers onto the property ladder.

ELPG, a group of leading property solicitors, said key workers struggling to buy properties should consider setting up a co-purchase agreement.

Spokesman Steve Spence said they could borrow as much as they could and find a parent or other relative loaning spare money to make up the difference.

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Wednesday, 26 July 2006 08:45
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
According to a survey by nursing union the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland one in five nurses in Scotland has been bullied at work in the past year.

The Breaking Point survey found that 18 per cent of nurses reported being bullied in the past year, 19 per cent suffered harassment and 11 per cent reported discrimination.

Jane McCready, the RCN Scotland board chair, condemned the findings.

She said: "Nurses are trained to deal with stressful situations. However, it is unacceptable that many are placed under further pressure because of intimidation from managers or colleagues. No-one should have to work under such conditions”.

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Tuesday, 04 July 2006 11:11
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
The Government announced yesterday that international nurses are to be banned from working in the UK to improve the chances of home-grown candidates getting a job.

The vast majority of overseas nurses will no longer be able to get work permits unless NHS trusts can prove they are unable to fill the posts with candidates trained in the European Economic Area or the UK.

However, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) attacked the move, warning it would be impossible to replace retiring nurses with home-grown talent alone.

Health Minister Lord Warner said the Government had invested heavily in nurse training and recruitment policies.

As a result, there were now 82,000 more nurses working in the NHS than when the Government came to power in 1997 - and record numbers in training.

He said: "We are now moving away from year-on-year growth in the NHS workforce to more of a steady state where there is a closer match between demand and supply.

"Large-scale international nurse recruitment across the NHS was only ever intended to be a short-term measure.

"The aim of the NHS has always been to look towards home-grown staff in the first instance and have a diverse workforce that reflects local communities.

"Therefore to ensure that UK resident and newly trained nurses are given every opportunity to continue their career in the UK and to secure the future workforce of the NHS, we are today taking Agenda for Change band five and six nurses off the shortage list”.

Dr Beverly Malone, RCN general secretary, said: "International nurses have always been there for the UK in times of need, and it beggar’s belief that they are now being made scapegoats for the current deficits crisis.

"Removing nursing from the list of recognised shortage professions is short-termism in the worst possible sense.

"We know that the vast majority of international nurses are employed in bands five and six, the very bands which are going to be affected.

"If this proposal goes ahead, I guarantee that the effects will be far-reaching and immediate.

"Over 150,000 nurses are due to retire in the next five to 10 years and we will not replace them all with home-grown nurses alone”.

Shadow Health Minister Andrew Murrison accused the Government of a "short-sighted" move.

He said: "Demographic changes over the next ten years mean that there will be a continuing need for the ethical recruitment of healthcare professionals from abroad, including nurses.

"This move is presumably designed to save the Government's blushes as hospitals cut jobs and freeze nursing posts in a desperate attempt to resolve deficits”.

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Saturday, 01 July 2006 09:25
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), an organisation set up by Parliament to protect the public by ensuring that nurses and midwives provide high standards of care to their patients and clients, have found that foreign nurses are using falsely obtained English qualifications to come to Britain to work in the National Health Service.

The NMC found that non English-speaking candidates, primarily from China and Pakistan, are claiming to have passed the required language exams in their homelands before emigrating to Britain. It has detected 12 cheats so far, and is concerned that the fraud is compromising patient safety.

Adrian Daghorn, the NMC's head of registration, said: "We are being presented with very authentic-looking certificates with seemingly authentic British Council stamps and photographs of the applicant.

“Nurses working here without English skills pose a real threat to patient safety, because it means they won't be able to read prescriptions or understand what other medics, or patients in pain or discomfort, are saying. It is about economic migration.

"Nurses who don't have a high enough standard of English are desperate to get here, but we are stamping out this fraud through these checks because it is a serious issue”.

The Royal College of Nursing backed the NMC's stance. Howard Catton, the RCN's head of policy, said: "Language is such a fundamental skill if nurses are to deliver high quality patient care, because communication is at the heart of nursing practice.

"All nurses need to be able to understand phrases like 'I need to spend a penny', or they can't nurse properly”.

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Thursday, 15 June 2006 10:32
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Campaigners are set to fight “penny pinching” recommendations to limit the prescription of Alzheimer’s drugs on the NHS.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN), The Alzheimer’s Society and Age Concern will appeal a ruling on four drugs by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice).

Nice ruled in May that Aricept (donepezil), Exelon (rivastigmine) and Reminyl (galantamine) should only be recommended for those with Alzheimer's of moderate severity. Ebixa (memantine), which is licensed for use in the later stages of the disease, was not recommended for anyone, except in clinical trials.

The charities have condemned the guidance as “perverse” given the proven benefits of the drugs, which cost as little as £2.50 a day per patient, and said the “penny pinching” decision "is destined to return the UK to the dark age of dementia care".

Neil Hunt, chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society, said: "How can a body which prides itself on clinical excellence produce such unethical and damning guidance?

"We are left with no choice but to appeal this appalling and morally perverse decision."

Gordon Lishman, director general of Age Concern said: "It is simply cruel that Nice is proposing people are going to have to get worse before they receive help. It is crucial that these drugs are made available to people in the early stages of dementia."

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Saturday, 03 June 2006 10:56
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Scottish nurses have warned ministers that having to change in toilets and wash their own uniforms is increasing the risk of passing deadly infections on to patients.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said a lack of changing facilities and laundry services in Scottish hospitals was hampering the fight against superbugs such as MRSA, and called on the Executive to ensure all employers provide suitable changing and laundry facilities.

RCN research shows that almost a third of nurses (32 per cent) did not have access to changing facilities at work and have to change in toilets or wear their uniforms to work.

Forty four per cent did not have access to showering facilities at work, while 34 per cent did not have a locker for belongings. Fifty eight per cent did not have access to a laundering service.

Jane McCready, board chairwoman of RCN Scotland, said: "It's common sense that healthcare staff should have a separate uniform for every shift they work. But we know that this often isn't the case and the implications for infection control are obvious.

"Healthcare staff need to be given the resources and facilities to tackle healthcare associated infections effectively.

"The results of this research show that nurses are being hampered in those efforts when it comes to safe practice around uniforms."

Margaret Davidson, chief executive of the Scotland Patients Association, said all nurses should have access to proper changing facilities.

"Nurses shouldn't have to travel in their uniforms because they could pick up cross-infections. They must have the facilities to get changed in a safe and clean environment at work so they are in a proper state to be near patients."

A Scottish Executive spokeswoman said: "We recommend that changing facilities be provided for NHS staff to encourage them to change out of a uniform while still in the workplace."

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Wednesday, 10 May 2006 09:38
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
A poll for the magazine the Nursing Standard shows that around one in 10 nurses training places are being cut.

The magazine quizzed all 28 strategic health authorities. Of these 21 responded, with 10 saying they planned to cut training numbers by between 3% and 24% authority wide.

Paul Turner, executive officer of the Council of Deans and Heads of the UK Nursing faculties, said it looked like around one in 10 places would be lost.

"But in some cases there are more substantial reductions - 30% in one course and possibly up to 40% in another," he said.

The Royal College of Nursing, which represents nurses, said moves to cut the number of student nurses were short-sighted.

"It is madness," said RCN policy adviser Jane Naish. "We have an ageing population and workforce.

"We have already seen a decrease in the number of district nurses, and health visitor numbers are at a standstill.

"We have to have enough nurses coming through," she added.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "When we launched the NHS Plan in 2000, the public made clear their top priority was to have more staff working in the NHS.

"We delivered on that, and exceeded the targets we set. We now have over 85,000 more nurses working in the NHS in England than in 1997."

She continued: "In recent years the rate of growth has eased off. We still have record numbers working in the NHS, but the annual increase has got smaller.

"In future, as the size of the NHS workforce stabilises, our emphasis will be on staff working differently, in order to deliver more personalised services for patients”.

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Thursday, 27 April 2006 10:55
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt was yesterday heckled for the second time in three days by health workers as she gave a speech at the Royal College of Nursing conference.

Delegates jeered and slow handclapped the health secretary and eventually interrupted her speech to ask a series of hostile questions.

Earlier this week Ms Hewitt received an angry response as she addressed the health workers union Unison.

The RCN predicted on Sunday that job cuts in the NHS would reach 13,000.

Responding to their concerns, Ms Hewitt said: "This is a very challenging time in the NHS and for everybody working in it. We all need to be honest and realistic about the time ahead."

She added: "I know that you're angry about the possibility of redundancies among some hospital staff. Anybody facing the prospect of redundancy is entitled to feel that."

With the audience jeering and laughing, she added: "We all know the NHS is getting more money than ever before. Of course most of the NHS is not in deficit. The majority of NHS hospitals and organisations are in balance or in surplus."

The health secretary said trusts would have to move away from using agency staff, which she said were not the most efficient way to deliver patients care. Agencies are estimated to cost the NHS £1bn a year.

She also stressed the improvements seen in recent years, including better pay for nurses, more staff and more lives being saved.

"The significant majority of staff got a pay rise. The pay rise over the last few years in the public sector has been significantly in advance of the private sector."

She went on to say that many trusts had been in deficit for years before recently coming to light.

"For decades, the overspenders have been bailed out by the underspenders."

But she was interrupted as the crowd grew increasingly disgruntled and the conference chair asked whether she would give way.

He said: "Are you finished yet... because you stated there are a few questions you wanted to take."

One delegate told Ms Hewitt: "You are a brave lady to come here after saying the NHS has had its best year yet."

The health secretary responded, saying there were more demands on the NHS because “patients expect more”.

"There are new drugs... and that's why we have got to keep getting better value for money so we release money for new drugs and all the new improvements we want to make."

At several points during the question and answer session she was forced to stop and wait for the noise to die down.

She complained that delegates would "shout" whatever she told them.

"I'm sorry if you don't like the answers. But at least ... at least let me give them."

RCN general secretary Beverly Malone said the reaction of nursing was an illustration of the "frustration" they felt.

"I think what happened was the reality of what nurses are feeling."

Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: "The Labour Party is no longer the party of the NHS.

"I am sorry that it should have come to this- respected health professionals with no respect for the health secretary.

"Patricia Hewitt has brought this on herself. She is being held to account for her gross mismanagement and incompetence. It is intolerable arrogance that she is still denying the reality. Will no level of humiliation make her understand?"

And Liberal Democrat health spokesman Steve Webb added: "The government's permanent revolution and constant meddling has demoralised the bedrock of the NHS."

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Wednesday, 26 April 2006 11:48
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Nurses need more support to help them deal with women who have been drug-raped, experts say.

Senior nursing strategist Dave Dawes told the Royal College of Nursing conference that women were increasingly going to A&E units and sexual health clinics after such attacks.

He said nurses needed clear guidance and training on how to spot drug-rape cases and liase with police.

About 500 cases of drug-rape are reported each year but the true extent of the crime is thought to be much higher. Experts say the crime is under-reported because the drugs can leave victims unsure of what has happened.

Mr Dawes, part of the RCN's body for nurses in senior management, said: "Women are turning up, not quite knowing what has happened to them and the problem is nurses have not been properly trained in how to deal with such cases.

"It is easy to think the women have just had too much to drink. What we need is clear advice on how to recognise cases, when to contact police and what else should be done.

"One of the things is that the drugs leave the person's body very quickly so if evidence is to be gathered nurses have to act quickly."

He said that nurses’ training should be changed to include information about drug-rape.

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Wednesday, 26 April 2006 10:55
BNN: British Nursing News Online ·
Children as young as nine are self-harming and attempting suicide, the Royal College of Nursing annual conference has heard.

Rising numbers of young people are cutting their bodies, turning to drink or drugs or even trying to hang themselves, nurses were told.

But despite the problem, funding for child and adolescent mental health is being cut and there is a shortage of in-patient psychiatric beds for youngsters.

A recent report has put the number of young people self-harming at one in 15.

Jacqui Nelson, a child and adolescent mental health nurse from Northern Ireland, said: "I have had a nine-year-old who wanted to kill himself and had tried hanging himself.

"I have seen children of 11 and 12 who have cut themselves and there are children as young as nine who are self-harming in other ways, through eating disorders, alcohol or drugs. The problems have definitely increased since I started working 16 years ago.

"There is so much pressure on children now; pressure to do well educationally, bullying and other problems like physical, emotional and sexual abuse."

She added that Northern Ireland currently has no in-patient psychiatric beds for young people, despite the region having the highest rates of young male suicide in the UK.

School nurse Chris Etherington told the debate that only 12.5 per cent of 11 to 16-year-olds who self harm seek medical for their problem.

She said: "Sometimes it is their life experiences and trauma that has taught them to use these methods of coping and we need to give them new ways of feeling emotion. One young person told me: 'Cutting lets me feel something. When I do this it lets something out.'"

Nurses are divided in how to deal with self-harming patients. Some RCN members have called for the Nursing and Midwifery Council’s code of conduct to be changed to allow them to help patients self-harm in a controlled environment. They believe that banning people under their care from cutting themselves could do more harm than good.

The Department of Health is funding a pilot scheme that allows some in-patients to cut themselves as part of their care plan.

Chris Holley, who is involved with the project, said: "It is controversial but this is not about all people who self-harm and it is not about handing out cutting implements.

"It is about people who self-injure in order to manage their feelings and to help them live, rather than die."

She compared the practice with handing out clean syringes to drug addicts.

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