Wednesday 22 June 2016

Ten Commitments of Nursing or Just Another Paper Exercise?

Simply write a list of “commitments”, ensure as many people as you can reads them, then sit back and feel as if you have done something positive.

Jane Cummings, the Chief Nursing Officer for England, has had written and is now publicising her Ten Commitments of Nursing. They promise that nurses will promote: public health, nurse leadership, informed patient choices, high value care, partnerships in care, colleagues’ concerns, good quality healthcare research, the right to education and training for nurses, the right staffing ratios, and champion the use of technology.  (Read the full version here). These are Jane Cummings’ strategy to improve the quality of nursing care in England. But how helpful are they?

These ten commitments will not make any difference because they are only words on a page, there is no backing of resources or money behind them.

Nursing faces one of its biggest crises of morale in decades. Nurses are over-worked, under staffed, under paid and under trained; and yet this government expects us to do more and more with less recourses. We are now expected to roll-out a full seven day NHS with no extra funding for the increased demand.

Since 2010, we’ve seen a huge decrease in the number of nurses in the NHS (1), as they leave to work for agencies with better pay or leave the NHS altogether; we’ve seen an increase in our workload, with no extra resources, we’ve suffered a cut in our real pay (0% pay rises since 2010 when David Cameron entered 10 Downing Street) (2), budgets for training have been slashed as NHS funding is cut in real terms  (3), and now student nurses are to be robbed of their bursaries (4).

These ten commitments won’t stop another Mid Staffs scandal (5) happening again when the strain on the NHS is forcing us ever nearer another one. Why isn’t Jane Cummings doing something about this? The real problems of the NHS revolve around lack of resources (6), not nurses being without Ten Commitments to quote, why isn’t Jane Cummings speaking out on this until she goes horse?

Many Trusts have Mission Statements, some of them have spent thousands of pounds to create their Mission Statements, all these Trusts will have had to spend a lot of resources and staff hours on agreeing these Mission Statements and publishing them throughout their organisation. But how many of these Mission Statements on their own have improved patient care and increased staff’s clinical skills and care? I suspect the answer is less than one. To improve patient care takes time, skill and resources, not just words on paper.

Even if all NHS Trusts adopted these Ten Comments where are the resources to implement them? Many, if not all of them, require a solid commitment of resources and money behind them to make them work, yet all Jane Cummings seems to be backing them with words.

I’m so busy at work that I regularly leave an hour late and I have forgotten the last time I didn’t work through my lunch break. I don’t have the time to do these ten commitments as well, but I don’t remember her asking me about them.

Drew Payne

Wednesday 15 June 2016

Homophobia Kills

I’m not homophobic, these are my personal views.”

I’m not homophobic, it’s the way things are.”

I’m not homophobic, it’s the word of God, it’s what God says.”

I’m not homophobic, it’s just banter. Get a life!”

I have forgotten all the excuses I have heard for homophobia over the years. It still the acceptable prejudice, wrapped up as personal beliefs or jokes, yet when you challenge it you are the one to blame.

On Saturday night (11/06/16), in Orlando, we saw an obscene act of homophobia. An armed man walked into the Pulse Nightclub, a Gay club, and opened fire with an automatic rifle, killing 49 people and injuring over 50. It was one of the worst mass shootings in American history and it was aimed at the LGBT Community. The shooter didn’t go into a random bar, he didn’t open fire at public place, he deliberately targeted a LGBT nightclub and opened fire at the people trapped inside.

We have already heard tales of heroism from that night (1) but barely have the victims been identified than the bigots started circling (2). Donald Trump, Sarah Palin and Ann Coulter have all tried to score political points from this tragedy, ignoring the pain of these lost lives. Even the Leave EU campaign has tried to do the same (3). Politicians and Commentators trying to score points off the back of this tragedy is distasteful enough but to also they deny the sexuality of the victims is disgusting.

We have seen outright, gloating hatred by homophobic bigots, a Turkish newspaper headline screamed ‘50 perverts killed’ (4). But homophobia is also becoming more subtle and underhand. A BBC news reporter (1 O’clock news on 14/06/16) described the victims as “party boys out for a good time”, as if their lives were of less value. On Sunday night (12/06/16) we have the spectre of Sky News trying to hetrosexualise the victims, denying their sexuality and that they were attacked because of their sexuality (5). The gay journalist Owen Jones, who was a guest on the Sky News review program, was so disgusted at this underhand homophobia of Mark Longhurst and Julia Hartley-Brewer (the presenter and other guest) that he walked off the program (6).

We are finding out more and more details about the shooter (7) but this man directly attacked a gay club. His father has claimed that the shooter acted because he was disgusted at seeing two men kissing (8), but his father has also said that it is God who will “punish” LGBT people (9). Homophobia is a big part of this tragedy and to deny it is as equally homophobic.

Homophobia isn’t just someone’s personal views, someone’s religious believes or just banter, it is an extreme prejudice that can lead to violence and killing. I have repeatedly seen this throughout my life, I still vividly remember the Soho bombing in 1999 that ripped apart the Admiral Duncan pub, and repeatedly I have heard people deny the homophobia behind these actions. To deny homophobia in the face of it is as equally homophobic. Julia Hartley-Brewer, in the days after Owen Jones walk out on her homophobia, has been trying to paint herself as the “victim” of all this. Her words ring as hollow as those who tried to deny the Nazi’s anti-Semitism in the 1930s, and it took decades to expose the Nazi’s homophobia.

Homophobia kills, simply look at the faces (10) and lives (11) of the people murdered at The Pulse Nightclub, on Saturday. These are the victims of homophobia, so do not dare to try and tell me homophobia is harmless.

Martin and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary on the 14th. Juan Ramon Guerrero
and Christopher Andrew Leinonen were planning their own wedding. They were murdered together at The Pulse Nightclub. They won’t be married, instead they will be buried together.

Drew Payne