Current Issues in Health

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Staffing problems in NHS lead to poor care and dangerous mistakes from tired staff. Health service regulator report shows that doctors' and nurses' leaders think that cost-cutting is being put ahead of patients' health and welfare. According to the quality care commission, hospital inspections show that a lack of staff is a reason 10% of patients are denied respect and dignity, 15% are not fed properly and 20% have their care and welfare neglected. Annual report by NHS watchdogs show a service breaking under the strain of trying to provide high-quality care as demand rises while resources are increasingly stretched, even though the government portrays the NHS meeting key performance targets in difficult circumstances. A 6th of 250 hospital services inspected in 2011-12 did not meet the CQC's standard for having enough staff on duty to care properly for patients. Lack of staff is prevalent in nursing homes, 23% and residential care homes. The watchdog blames staff shortages and other personnel issues for the fact that 21% of hospitals were not managing patients' medication well enough and that 22% were guilty of inadequate record-keeping. Care is becoming 'task-based’ rather than ‘person-centred' (the basics of good care can’t be delivered in a 'conveyor belt' approach). 10% hospital patients had been denied respect and dignity by having their call bell out of reach, being spoken to by staff in a condescending way and having too little privacy. The report adds to controversy over whether government demands for £20bn of NHS "efficiency savings" by 2015 are harming the service patients receive. The British Medical Association (BMA), which represents about 140,000 of the UK's 200,000 doctors, said that was an inevitable result if hospitals operated with too few staff. "The government's £20bn efficiency savings drive will lead to fewer staff being recruited. And when trusts struggle financially, it is frontline staff and patients who suffer. You can't reduce services...
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