Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Should nurse pledge the allegiance to compassion?
Yesterday's announcement by the Prime Minister's Commission on the Future of Nursing and Midwifery which calls for nurses and midwives to "renew their pledge to society to provide compassionate care" is patronising, insulting and inappropriate. The pledge is designed to restore public trust in the NHS, but as the public are very aware it is the over emphasis on targets, finance and privatisation which is destroying public trust. Last week's Mid Staffordshire report highlighted a lack of governance at board level far more than a lack of desire to care by nurses.
Nurses and midwives do not need to renew a pledge to society, they need to be allowed to do the job they were trained to do. This means ensuring that there are enough of them to cope with the increasing demands in hospitals and in communities - something that Labour have failed to do.
Calling for nurses to pledge compassion will alienate many committed and hard working staff. Nurses understand the value of care and people trust nurses to deliver care compassionately. People do not trust the over emphasis on targets, they are losing trust in managers' ability to provide adequate support and they do not trust Labour's drive to commercialise the NHS.
If the NHS is to restore trust in its service, it needs to provide assurance that public and staff concerns are listened to at the highest levels - and that they are acted on. It also needs to kick the increasing commercialisation and treat health care as a service not a commodity.