Draconian treatment for nurses breaching 4-hour wait times
During a recent hearing, the Stafford General Hospital senior management have been alleged to shout at staff for daring to spend more than 4 hours treating a patient. Sarah Kean-Price writes more:
6th March 2013
In an unpleasant twist to the Mid Staffs care scandal, it has now emerged that nurses were told they were “[making] a spectacle” of providing care if they went over the four-hour treatment limit. In a manner that has been described as ‘draconian’, staff would find themselves taken to executive management to be explain their behaviour when going over this time limit. This behaviour came to light during a misconduct hearing for Tracy White and Sharon Turner. Between them, they have racked charges of 11 counts of misconduct including falsifying waiting times, racist conduct and conduct relating to patent care.
Katherine Kelly, who worked as a sister at Stafford General Hospital described “a culture of bullying” from senior management, including incidents of shouting at nursing professionals who spent more than 4 hours treating a patient. Kelly reported that “The management at the time was draconian and nurses were often marched up to the executive office in relation to breach times in the A&E department....The A&E sisters would also frequently be in trouble for allowing breaches of the four-hour target.”
She went on to say that “Nurses were punished by the trust if they spent more time with the patients, if this resulted in them breaching the four-hour target.....Nurses who had fewer or no breaches received high praise from management. Nurses who had breaches were made a spectacle of and made to feel they were no good at their job.”
Another member of staff, Miss Donnelly, said they regularly altered waiting times to escape breach punishment and also called the A&E department “chaotic”. During the time Miss Donnelly was referring to, the A&E department had no permanent manager.
It’s tremendously sad to hear these allegations unfold from former Stafford General Hospital. It serves as an important reminder to senior management staff everywhere to not get swept away by a dehumanising and excessive focus on targets.