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YEP Says, February 3: Investment is only solution to staffing crisis in our hospitals

Staffing levels are key to good care at the city's hospitals.

Staffing levels are key to good care at the city's hospitals.

Ratio of one nurse to 30 patients is unacceptable.

NO area of public spending can expect a blank cheque from the Government, particularly in the present climate. And that includes the NHS.

But where staffing shortages are so dire that in some circumstances there is just one nurse for 30 patients, clearly something has to be done.

That was the experience of Carol Brown, who has Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis, when she was admitted to St James’s Hospital in December.

Such a scenario – and it’s unlikely this was a one-off – must raise serious questions as to the standard of care afforded to patients and genuine concern for their welfare.

It is simply unfeasible for one nurse to provide the basic level of care and oversight that should be expected during a hospital stay in the 21st century.

And, while the NHS must tighten its belt and increase its efficiency, in this instance there’s only one solution: investing in the recruitment of more staff.

That is what will now happen, with hospital bosses agreeing to spend £14m over the next two-and-a-half years to ensure each ward has at least one nurse for every eight patients.

This is welcome investment – and not before time if the NHS is to fulfil its pledge to improve care standards in the wake of the Mid Staffordshire scandal.

However tight the budget, sometimes there’s no getting round the fact that this means spending money.

Cemetery space poses headache for council

THERE’S forward planning – and then there’s forward planning.

Harry and Dorothy Bedford are already plotting where they will be laid to rest, but are worried they might not get their final wish of having their ashes buried together in their hometown cemetery.

While there must be sympathy for the couple, who have lived in Rothwell all their lives, the council is also in a tricky position. If people reserve places, cemeteries could be forced to close before they are full.

The test of the authority’s new burial strategy will be whether it succeeds in ensuring that, in as many cases as possible, the last wishes of the deceased are respected.

 

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