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A quarter of nurses too busy to talk to patients

14th October 2011

A major survey of NHS trusts has found that more than three quarters of nurses are too busy to talk to patients.

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Researchers from King’s College London (KCL) questioned 2,943 nurses at 31 NHS trusts in England.

From the findings, it emerged that a quarter of nurses are too busy to administer drugs on time and 44% admitted that at least one patient under their care had suffered a serious fall in the last month.

The survey results come in the same week that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) revealed that a fifth of hospitals were neglecting elderly patients to such an extent they were breaking the law.

In the KCL survey 39% of nurses say they did not have enough time to record details about patient care such as whether they had been given anything to eat or drink, 26% were too busy to administer drugs when they should have been given, 24% not been able to check skin for signs of pressure sores and 26% of those questioned said 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, said: “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.”

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

 

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