Nurses get new guid­ance to halt 5.30am wake­ups

The Sunday Post (Inverness) - - NEWS -

Hospi­tal bosses ac­cused of let­ting nurses wake, wash and dress dementia pa­tients at 5.30am have given new guid­ance to staff. Last week we re­vealed how MSP Neil Find­lay had been con­tacted by whistle­blow­ers at Ed­in­burgh’s Western Gen­eral Hospi­tal. They claimed pa­tients in the hospi­tal’s long-stay el­derly care ward were left dis­tressed and dis­ori­en­tated af­ter be­ing wo­ken so early.

Hospi­tal bosses de­nied the al­le­ga­tion. How­ever, Pro­fes­sor Alex Mcma­hon, NHS Loth­ian nurse di­rec­tor, yes­ter­day is­sued a new state­ment, em­pha­sis­ing the pa­tient care pol­icy but also say­ing there had been dis­cus­sions with staff to give them ex­tra guid­ance and im­proved sup­port.

He said: “We take pa­tient care, safety and ex­pe­ri­ence ex­tremely se­ri­ously in NHS Loth­ian and we ac­tively en­cour­age our staff to raise any con­cerns.

“It is not our pol­icy or prac­tice to wake pa­tients at 5.30am, and we have be­gun dis­cus­sions with our teams to pro­vide ex­tra guid­ance and pro­vide im­proved sup­port, where re­quired.”

Mr Find­lay said he had been told no­tices list­ing the tasks the night staff must com­plete be­fore they fin­ished their shift – which in­cluded wash­ing and dress­ing pa­tients – had also been taken down.

Irene O’neill, of the In­de­pen­dent Fed­er­a­tion of Nurs­ing, said: “It may not be ‘of­fi­cial’ pol­icy, but get­ting pa­tients washed and dressed at these ex­tremely early times is clearly what is hap­pen­ing on the wards. “Per­haps it would be more help­ful if Pro­fes­sor Mcma­hon at­tends at that time to see for him­self.”

She claimed nurses had told her the same prob­lem oc­curred on el­derly care wards at Mon­k­lands Hospi­tal.

She said: “Our nurses were hor­ri­fied to dis­cover wak­ing el­derly pa­tients was a reg­u­lar thing, some­times as early as 4am.

“It’s against ev­ery bit of the pa­tients’ char­ter, and any nurse who fol­lows such or­ders is not putting the needs and well­be­ing of their pa­tient first and fore­most.”

But NHS La­nark­shire de­nied the claims. Karen Goudie, chief of nurs­ing ser­vices at Mon­k­lands Hospi­tal, said: “These are his­tor­i­cal al­le­ga­tions which we to­tally re­fute. “We had cor­re­spon­dence with the In­de­pen­dent Fed­er­a­tion of Nurs­ing in Fe­bru­ary 2018. An in­ves­ti­ga­tion was car­ried out at the time. How­ever, there was no ev­i­dence to sup­port the claims.” Adam Stachura, of char­ity Age Con­cern, said: “It is vi­tal nurses and oth­ers are en­cour­aged to blow the whis­tle on any prac­tices they have con­cerns about.”

Neil Find­lay MSP

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