Three quarters of nurses don’t have time to talk to patients

Three out of four nurses lack the time to talk to patients, a major survey of NHS trusts has revealed.Three quarters of nurses don't have time to talk to patientsThe results of a survey involving almost 3,000 nurses by researchers at King’s College London will prompt further alarm over the standards of care in the NHS.

A quarter admit they are too busy to administer drugs on time and more than 40 per cent said at least one patient under their care had suffered a serious fall in the last month.

The findings were based on unannounced inspections at 100 hospitals to check elderly patients were given enough to eat and drink and were treated with dignity.

In some instances, watchdog’s inspectors saw patients rattling bedrails or banging on water jugs in an effort to attract the attention of nurses.

The report also claimed that some hospitals were “putting paperwork over people” with patients being left for more than ten hours without a drink.

The latest study involving 2,943 nurses looked at 31 NHS trusts across England. Researchers found there was an absence of humanity as without regularly talking to their patients nurses had no way of knowing their needs.

The survey revealed that 76 per cent of nurses did not have enough time to talk to or comfort patients and 40 per cent of staff were too busy to carry out necessary checks such as taking their temperature.

Thirty-nine per cent admitted they did not have enough time to record details about patient care such as whether they had been given anything to eat or drink.

Twenty-six per cent said they were too busy to administer drugs on time and 24 per cent had not been able to check skin for signs of pressure sores.

A further 44 per cent admitted that in the past month at least one patient under their care had suffered a serious fall.

And 26 per cent said that at least one patient in the same period had been given the wrong dose of drugs or developed bed sores.

Professor Peter Griffiths, of the national nursing research unit at King’s College London, told the Daily Mail: “Talking and comforting patients is very important as nurses need to know how they are and how they feel.

“It’s about having humanity, having a relationship with people. It’s important to understand what patients need. Sometimes staff feel that paperwork has to come first.”

The Royal College of Nursing admitted it was “not surprised” that so many nurses lacked the time to talk to patients.

Janet Davies, its executive director of nursing and service delivery, said: “We know many nurses are wilting under the strain of longer working hours, taking on the burden on unfilled vacancies and reduced staffing levels.”


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