Socialist Worker

NHS cuts kill

After the scandal of the Mid Staffs report, health workers say blame cuts and understaffing not nurses

Issue No. 2339

Hospital wards in Britain are sometimes or always dangerously understaffed. That’s according to a majority of nurses who responded to a recent Nursing Times poll.

The finding comes as a report is published into unnecessary deaths at Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust between 2005 and 2009.

Now nurses reveal that a similar disaster could happen again.

One London nurse told Socialist Worker, “Sometimes we’re so short staffed that less experienced people are putting in cannulas [needles inserted into a vein].

“I’ve heard the screams.'


“We’re down six nurses since last year and there’s often no sick cover at night. So a patient will have to wait for pain control, to be fed or to be cleaned if they have soiled themselves.”

The Tory cuts are forcing every hospital trust to do what the Mid Staffordshire trust did—prioritise finance at the expense of care.

Karen, a psychiatric nurse, told Socialist Worker, “My friend is a staff nurse on a chest ward where nurses have been cut from five to four.

“Patients are often terrified because they can’t breathe but there’s no time to reassure them otherwise you can’t finish the drugs round on time.

“We can’t let the Tories turn every hospital into Stafford.”

There have also been a number of strikes and demonstrations against NHS cuts in the past week.

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