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Save Our NHS Leicestershire

EXCLUSIVE. Behind the Scenes at Leicester Royal Infirmary: An NHS Worker Speaks Out

By Save Our NHS Leicestershire
February 17, 2020

The following report was sent to Save Our NHS Leicestershire by an NHS worker at the Leicester Royal Infirmary. We have not undertaken an independent check on all the issues raised in this report but we believe the source is reliable although for obvious reasons wishes to remain anonymous.

“When we moved into the new £40 million pound A&E we were promised that no patients would be in corridors, let alone on the backs of ambulances. Very quickly a relatives’ seating area was removed and patients were once again being put in the corridor, with nothing to spare their dignity but a movable panel.

“Multiple Patients have been on the backs of ambulance for over 4 hours throughout the year with nurses leaving in droves and junior doctors saying that there is no way they are going to go into the field of emergency medicine. Nurses are bullied by senior staff and managers to make unwell patients, who should be on trollies, sit on chairs in an already overcrowded waiting area. They call it fit to sit. Half the patients should be in Resus and no matter how much you beg the senior team you are told that it is full with red call patients on the way with no space for the red call emergency, let alone a patient in the waiting room. As a result, patients have suffered, people have remained in pain, elderly people have fallen, and patients have had cardiac arrests in this environment all due to a lack of space and compassion.

“This year for the first time ever children have had to wait on the backs on ambulances. Phase two of the emergency floor opened up the Medical admissions unit. As part of this process beds were lost. I ask why, when patients admissions were increasing year on year, would you close medical beds knowing that there was nowhere for these patients to go and thereby knowing that they would be left in A&E?

“The Trust [University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust] has introduced the pod: an 8 bedded area staffed by a paramedic to release ambulances. The issue is again nurses and doctors are being pressured to put unsuitable patients in there by a management team who are only interested in targets. You have to remember that these patients are then being looked after by a paramedic whose whole training is the initial emergency management of patients, not the ongoing continuous care of patients that they need when they arrive in hospital. I ask how paramedics can safety look after 8, often elderly unwell patients by themselves for hours on end. And is it an appropriate environment? There has already been issues with its construction with leaks and drafts. All this has caused real pressure on an already overly junior nursing team.

The ‘Pod’ – a portacabin structure attached to the Adult A&E designed to help release ambulances.

“There are now senior nurses in the department that have very little A&E experience with some sisters and deputy sisters unable to undertake basic A&E skills like suturing or not having undertaken necessary courses like trauma or advanced life support. Initial triage roles like the VAC nurse, requires a great deal of skill and knowledge as it is a very important role. However, nurses who have never undertaken a triage course now fulfil this function with little knowledge to back up their decision. The department has even started employing paramedics or nurses from other specialities into senior roles and getting them to lead areas that they have no knowledge of or experience in.

“Nurses morale is at rock bottom. So much so that they have been encouraged to reduce their contractual hours and make up their time on the nursing bank to relieve the stress being put upon them. I really worry for the future of the department and more importantly for every patient that turns up there in need of care.

“What the A&E management are now doing is pressurising the Emergency Nursing Practitioner’s to see more patients by monitoring their “productivity” i.e. how many patients they see. They do this by putting graphs on the wall etc. They are treating patients like factory objects, a commodity that they can measure and if they don’t see enough patients, they discipline them. You can’t judge practitioners like this. Patients are humans that come with differing problems and need different amounts of care. You can’t pressure nurses to see more people as this pressure firstly may cause people to make mistakes but also it is a nurses’ job to care for patients. By doing this “productivity” it stops nurses having the ability to talk to patients and provide adequate care as they are worried about their jobs.”

Save Our NHS Leicestershire is a democratic campaigning organisation fighting to protect our health service. We are backed by trade unions representing tens of thousand of members across the county and a wide range of political and campaigning groups.

We are currently campaigning for transparency from our local NHS Trust, University Hospitals of Leicester (UHL), who are preparing to go to public consultation over plans to transform hospital services in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland that no one has yet seen. What we do know about the plans is that they want to close Leicester General Hospital as an acute hospital and move the services into the Glenfield and the LRI. Notwithstanding the ongoing crisis at the Royal Infirmary, the Trust’s plans do not create a significant increase in the number of beds available, despite costing £450million. They say they don’t need to extra beds because people want to be cared for at home or in the community, but we are concerned that, after a decade of austerity, care in the community is in a worse crisis than the NHS. Furthermore, the Trust are refusing to publish the details of their plan before going to public consultation as soon as the end of March. There is a risk that health campaigners and the public will have to walk blindfolded into the consultation.

Our current leaflet, which outlines our main concerns about UHL’s plans, is copied below. 

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