There has been another article in the Mail about appalling treatment given to a helpless relative, this time written by a nurse, Lorraine Morgan . She asks what has happened to the profession of which we were once so proud.

I think the rot set in when they brought in so many non-medical bureaucrats, and allowed them to take over the running of hospitals, taking it from the capable hands of those who had built it into the efficient, caring service which had evolved over the years from the basis laid down by a certain Miss Nightingale a century before! Now we have an army of chief officers, deputy chief officers, chief clerks etc. etc. A lot of unnecessary titles, who confuse the issues wasting time and money.

If patients or their relatives had a problem or complaint it was dealt with there and then by the Sister, and if they were not satisfied with that, Matron or her deputy made a round of all the patients every day if they wanted a second opinion. Now they have to fill in forms which are sent to a committee to debate at some future date.

When I was training the wards were staffed by trained nurses and heavily supervised student nurses, a permanent ward maid and orderly and possibly a ward clerk. Sister was in control of the ward and the assistant Matrons above her and the buck stopped at Matron.

We were all easily recognised by our uniforms then, but when I was in hospital 2-3 years ago, I had no idea who was trained and who was not. The only time I saw the person in charge was when the girl in the next bed to me pressed the emergency bell by mistake  then a band of assorted people rushed in pushing the resuscitation trolley (just like a scene from Holby City). One of those was wearing a navy tunic, so I assume he was in charge. I never saw a Matron, or whatever her title is now. I saw more of my Consultant , who did a round every day (unaccompanied by any nursing staff, which would have been unheard of a few years ago)

I can only assume that the Sisters are bogged down in paperwork and no longer teach the Student nurses or show by example how patients should be treated, so the Students, well versed in theory and technology, have no role models to show them that basic nursing care of the patients by keeping them clean, well nourished and comfortable and treating them with dignity, not only keeps them contented, but aids their recovery and prevents unwanted secondary conditions from developing.

It seems to be accepted by those in authority that basic care is not “proper” nursing and can be left to aides which is why there are problems about who should pay for this care in Nursing homes, health service or local authority.

Lorraine and a group of like minded nurses are trying to bring about a return to decent care for all and have set up a web site I hope they succeed in their endeavours as it is surely a basic human right to have decent care when we need it.