I seem to be getting more and more interested in the RCN website these days. On October 19th a press release was posted lamenting the recruitment freeze and its negative impact on the recruitment of newly qualified nurses.


What a good and solid influence Beverley Malone is on British healthcare. However, I then read in the Health Services Journal of 9th November that the RCN Head of Policy is expressing concern that senior nurses are being asked to return to ward duty in the interests of reducing Trust deficits. If I was still working in management in the NHS I would have been delighted to have been asked to return to the ‘engine room’ of healthcare, if for no other reason than to maintain my registration by performing some ‘return to practice’. I would have worried about making a fool of myself in front of all those brilliant youngsters however. But what a treat! Well done Pauline Tagg at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust for deciding to temporarily demote yourself from Director of Nursing to Nursing Auxiliary to help her Trust’s finances out and to simultaneously provide some much-needed hands on care to patients – so making your Trust’s wards safer by increasing the nurse to patient ratio. Perhaps all Trusts will adopt this policy from now on and rotational ward duties for Directors of Nursing on their wards will become the norm. Out of the Boardroom onto the wards! Yet Mr Howard Caton howls:

‘This is the first time we have heard a nurse at Director level going back to hands on nursing but we have had a number of examples of senior nurses and specialists being asked to do the work of a band-five or band-six nurse.’

Has anyone heard of the word customer here? The NHS exists for its customers the patients, and if the ruddy Chief Executive is a trained nurse and can backfill on a ward he or she should do so in cases of extreme need. Get real Howard and join the classless society mate.

A lesson in economics might not be a bad thing for you either. Try starting with the supply and demand curve.

What about putting a freeze on a few administrative nursing posts in the interests of bringing a few newly qualified nurses in at staff nurse level, oops, sorry, I mean band six level. Now that would be revolution wouldn’t it? Or perhaps it would just be good management of the NHS.