College comments on RCN inappropriate care report

A Royal College of Nursing (RCN) report has revealed that more than 1 in 3 (37%) nursing staff working in typical hospital settings delivered care in “inappropriate settings”, such as corridors, on their last shift. Their survey of almost 11,000 frontline nursing staff across the UK shows the extent to which corridor care has been normalised.

The RCN found that many patients are regularly treated on chairs in corridors for extended periods of time. The College back the RCN’s call that these instances must be determined as ‘Never Events’ in NHS services.

Responding to the report, Professor Andrew Elder, President of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh said:

The results of the RCN survey are concerning, because they highlight that many people are unfortunately experiencing inappropriate care. This is not good enough.

We believe that an important factor impacting on A&E department capacity is patient flow within our hospitals, with high levels of discharge delays meaning doctors are struggling to move patients from A&E to in-patient acute wards. A major reason why we can’t get people into hospital as quickly as needed is that we can’t get them home quickly enough. We understand the focus on patients arriving at A&E departments - the hospital ‘front door’ - but we also need to pay serious attention to getting patients who are medically fit to leave out of the hospital - the “back door” of hospitals. This should improve patient flow.

The College urges governments across the UK to redouble their efforts to support patients to return home after hospitalisation. This means valuing the social care workforce more than has been the case, attracting more people to work in social care, and providing better support for the many family and friends who act as informal carers in the community. In Scotland, it also means looking at reforms to adults with incapacity procedures to allow patients to move from acute wards into social care facilities while issues like guardianship are addressed.