CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Diminishing resources make for higher stress levels

20 April, 2017

Whittington Hospital

WHAT is the root cause of rising levels of staff stress and patient rage at the Whittington?

An annual survey of more than 1,000 hospital workers reveals more than 40 per cent have suffered work-related stress in the past year.

At the same time, hostility from patients and their families has risen way above national average. So much so, that the hospital’s board is considering a move to “defuse violent situations” with threats of withholding treatment. Patients are often left out of the loop when it comes to their care in hospitals. Despite the NHS mantra of “no decision about me without me”, many are left waiting, alone and afraid, for hours without information or a sense of control.

Hospital trust finances have been decimated by successive austerity budgets in recent years. Staff and beds have been shed from district general and mental hospitals. Senior manager positions have swelled.

The cost of living and poverty pay freezes has meant trusts, such as the Whittington, are routinely struggling to recruit clinical staff.

Weary nurses are preparing to vote on whether to strike over under-payment. The Royal College of Nursing estimates that since 2010 nurses’ pay restrictions are equivalent to a 14 per cent cut and has contributed to tens of thousands of unfilled nursing posts across the country.

Of course, bullying and harassment of hospital staff cannot be condoned. But many may empathise with the anger patients’ friends and families may feel when it appears their loved ones are being neglected.

It is an anger borne out of frustration with public services that have been cut to the bone, and are no longer functioning as they should be.

Service charges

RESIDENTS of Hillsborough Court are right to be asking questions about how their service charges are being spent.

Thousands of pounds are often raked in each year by landowners to be spent on who knows what.

Isn’t it time leaseholders are given properly itemised accounts? It would bring an end to many drawn-out disputes that are often settled in expensive tribunals.

Highgate Newtown

THE Town Hall’s planning committee is facing another big decision on Highgate Newtown development next week. The centre’s board of trustees, managers and groups based at the site support the plans but hundreds of residents have signed a petition against it. There will be no social housing. It looks set to be another rowdy night debating the merits of Camden’s Community Investment Programme.

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