‘Broken’ nurses fear being dragged into court by NHS patients | British News

Nurses have revealed the ‘grim’ reality of working in the NHS (Image: PA)

As the Royal College of Nursing has revealed, nurses fear being taken to court over the quality of patient care.

General Secretary Pat Cullen said the “gloomy picture” was coming across the NHS as the union ramped up pressure on the government to meet its “double-digit” wage demands.

More than 500 specialist A&E nurses shared their experiences of overcrowded hospitals with the RCN ahead of its annual congress in Brighton today.

Self-described as “broken” and feeling “suicidal”, some nurses have criticized the “degrading” need to treat patients in hallways.

Nine out of ten expressed concerns about unsafe care and harm to patient dignity, privacy and confidentiality.

And six in 10 fear they will be removed from the care register or face legal action against them by patients.

One emergency room nurse said, “Caring for patients in the hallways destroys staff morale.”

“When you walk into the department and you see 15 to 20 people queuing every day, you lose all hope that it will be a good shift.”

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 6TH: A nurse holds a placard in front of Big Ben as members of the Royal College of Nursing with ambulance crews and emergency services workers picket outside St Thomas' Hospital in Westminster, London, Britain - February 6th, 2023 , on the first of two strikes taking place this week over wages and working conditions. The industrial action is taking place across England and Northern Ireland on the biggest day of strikes in the 75-year history of the National Health Service (NHS). (Photo by Dinendra Haria/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

A nurse holds a placard in front of Big Ben (Image: Anadolu Agency/Getty)

“We take care of the patients as best we can, but something happens every day.” I’ve handled almost every situation I can imagine while in line.

“We had to put call bells and casualty buzzers in after people went into cardiac arrest in a corridor.” Pad changes are required for incontinent patients, but there is no space or privacy to change pads.

“Patients and their families can sometimes be physically or verbally aggressive towards us because they rightly fear and dismay at the environment in which they are being treated. Some are then arrested by the security service or taken away.” There are delays in taking the medication. The list goes on.

“Having to look after patients like this makes you feel like a terrible nurse.” Unfortunately, I’ve become desensitized to it, having been involved with it for so long.

“But if nothing is done, we will continue to lose excellent nurses who are stretched to the limit.”

The General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), Pat Cullen, addresses the media outside the BBC Broadcasting House in London. NHS organizations across the country are braced for significant disruption as nurses prepare for a 28-hour strike over pay. Picture date: Sunday April 30, 2023. PA Photo. The RCN general secretary defended the strike, saying canceled doctors' appointments were not just the result of industrial action. See PA story INDUSTRY strikes. Photo credit should read: Lucy North/PA Wire

Pat Cullen, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, warned the healthcare system was ‘stalling’ (Image: PA)

According to the RCN, nurses and doctors are unable to discharge patients due to a lack of community care.

The bed capacity is also classified as dangerous.

Ms Cullen said, “Patients being served through emergency rooms are a clear sign that a health and care system is coming to a standstill.” A corridor is not a place to die, nor is it a place to work.

“If ministers fail to get this situation under control, they are allowing patients to pay a high price and leaving nurses to work in fear and disabled.”

“Governments urgently need to plan and invest to reverse this new trend.”

“Our members have told us that they are so concerned about a threat to patient safety that they fear a lawsuit may be brought against them.”

“While any decision related to a court case takes into account the special pressures a nurse faces, these fears are a testament to how unsafe conditions have become.”

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Justin Scaccy

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