Suffering staff

As SOMEONE who recently spent four days in the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh having a knee replacement, I must support the outgoing president of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh’s warnings about how the NHS cuts in hospital beds and workforce have put “intolerable pressure on our doctors and nurses.” The pressure is real and a disgrace.

Health secretary Alex Neil, boasts about the opening of new wards as a sign of how well the NHS is doing under his charge.

I was admitted to Orthopaedic Ward 210 in ERI, opened only five days before.

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Yes, it is a beautiful ward, much admired by nurses from other wards – but where is the essential increase in staffing and resources? I was shocked to find that in Ward 210 nurses were expected to work 12-hour shifts with only three half-hour breaks, which sometimes could not be taken due to the pressure of work, which is increased by indefensible shortages of basics like pillowcases (six supplied for 26 patients) and pillows (blankets were folded to form makeshift pillows).

I saw staff getting more and more tired as they rushed about multi-tasking. That is when,
understandably, mistakes happen. As usual, nurses are blamed for any shortcomings in patient care.

I was shocked to overhear a woman (presumably from management – smart suit, no uniform) bark “Staff shortage? Deal with it!”, at a nurse who was trying to explain why something was not as it should be.

Showcase new wards, but at what cost to health and morale of both patients and staff? It should be management under scrutiny, not the hard-working nurses and doctors.

morna mulgray

Bath Street