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RCN Health News Alert

Saturday 9 May - Sunday 10 May

Survey reveals inadequate hospital facilities for nurses to clean equipment

A survey of 2,000 nurses from the Royal College of Nursing has found that there is a serious lack of facilities in hospitals for nurses to clean equipment. 37% of nurses surveyed said that they had no access to a room for cleaning equipment, with 32% saying that they have to decontaminate vital equipment in a bathroom. 34% of nurses in the survey said that they are responsible for cleaning equipment as part of their job, however they have never received any training on how to decontaminate equipment.

Royal College of Nursing Chief Executive & General Secretary, Dr. Peter Carter, said: "Having the time and space to clean and then store essential everyday hospital equipment such as IV stands, commodes and patient cushions is crucial in keeping patients safe from dangerous infections. It's shocking that some nurses have no choice but to store equipment in hospital bathrooms. People need to recognise that fighting infection is about much more than just hand washing. Every trust should protect training budgets for nurses and make sure that every nurse in the country is given the opportunity to update their infection prevention training. Every nurse should have access to round-the-clock cleaning services. Overall, infection rates have been going down over the past couple of years, but that's from a very high point indeed."

Shadow Health Minister Anne Milton said: "This is yet more evidence that nurses aren't getting the support they need. Given that three times as many people now die from hospital infections each year than die on Britain's roads it is simply unacceptable to find basic standards of hygiene are not being met because the resources aren't available. Nurses are being put in an impossible position. It's unfair on them and unfair on patients." The Department of Health said: "We have made substantial investment - an additional £270m a year by 2010/2011 - for the NHS to tackle healthcare associated infections. Trusts must make adequate arrangements for decontamination, out-of-hours cleaning and staff training in infection prevention and control."

The NHS spent £350 millions on management consultants last year

The Royal College of Nursing today revealed shocking figures that the NHS spent £350 million on external management consultants in the last financial year. More than £273 million of this was not related to direct patient care. The figures were obtained from 240 NHS organisations in England, such as Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs), under the Freedom of Information Act and demonstrate that the NHS remains the fourth largest user of external consultancy. Dr Peter Carter, is quoted as saying: "These figures are utterly shocking. Before the Department of Health and local health Trusts look at cutting frontline services, training budgets or new facilities, they need to look very carefully at the money spent on external advice and what value is added to the patient experience. When some individual management consultants are getting more than £1000 a day to advise on finance, we must surely be able to afford improvements to the quality of patient care."

Secret filming reveals superbug outbreak at hospital

Stafford hospital is facing allegations of a cover-up after a "secret dossier" revealed more than a dozen patients have died in a new superbug outbreak. The Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, which manages the hospital, apparently failed to tell the public about the C.diff outbreak and claimed the Health Protection Agency was happy with its infection control procedures. The details have been revealed in a leaked Health Protection Agency report.

  • Sunday Express, p36

IVF denied to a woman because she had step-children

The Sunday Telegraph reports that a woman has been denied fertility treatment on the NHS because her husband has children from a previous relationship.The woman and her husband are appealing against the decision. Fertility organisations have warned that an increasing number of couples are experiencing problems due to a postcode lottery. The Independent on Sunday also reports on the postcode lottery surrounding fertility treatment.