When the NHS was once a service one of the doctor’s who we now report on was admitted as a child to a ward and was given a little booklet to read that explained who was what on the ward where they were then billoted. They read with interest about the different uniforms that were worn, the different “skill sets” and “skill mixes” to use today’s Party speak and which then existed. It was as follows:
Dark blue = sister = top dog on the ward or senior SRN (State Registered Nurse) with experience +/- extra qualifications
Purple/purple white stripes = staff nurse = SRN = 3 years training with minimum qualifications to get trained
Green/green white stripes = SEN = State Enrolled Nurse = 2 years training with minimum qualifications less than those for an SRN.
Nursing auxillary = yellow uniform = not well qualified but did general duties under the supervision of either an SEN and/or an SRN.
Simples but that was before the Party reformed for the better this simple hierarchy whereby different people had different levels of skill and different jobs but worked together to provide a service to the patient (customer).
Using the comprehensive education system as its model nursing seniors have decided that no one is too thick to fail even though with the decline in the UK population it was at one point predicted that in the later part of the 20th century in a projected year that there would not be enough academically qualified women to meet the numbers required to be SRNs let alone anything less qualified due to the falling birth rate and increasing numbers of elderly who would need care.
Easy problem to fix for thick managers lower the standards. All SENs became SRNs with a conversion course and introduce the likes of Project 2000 and the NHS University et al.
So someone in the Party(s) realized that if every nurse is now a chief they cost more. The current TriPartite healthcare policy is a privatization model whereby quality care = care on the cheap as their care model is that profit comes before true patient care.
So training all previously cheaper SENs to become SRNs will have increased costs and left a gap in the nursing workforce (sorry sh*t shovellers) which needed to be filled on the cheap hence the creation of the HCA (Health Care Assistant) the former Nursing Auxillary.
So on the wards the team trained on you would have:
An SRN or two
An SEN or two
And a nursing auxillary or two.
Excellent idea until you also coincide these changes with the widespread introduction of the failures of the comprehensive school system called NHS managers. They think nurses big numbers HCAs little numbers. Using their hands and feet to count which is hard work for some who would have to take their shoes off to count to 24 NHS managers realized that employing lots of HCAs instead of more expensive highly trained SRNs meant they could do their sums without running out of hands and feet.
Enter stage left Staffordshire where no NHS manager will ever be wrong for Staffordshire is a “system failure” not a maffs failure for trying care on the cheap but the options they adopted to reduce healthcare costs and therefore quality is part of the cause.
So now a ward will have:
Possibly a sister more likely a ward manager
Maybe one possibly two SRNs
And loads and loads of HCAs = cheap unqualified labour.
A former much missed nurse blogger who has departed these healthcare deficiency shores for hopefully something approaching first world care commented on the role of “kids” in providing hands on care at the expense of quality patient care. You should read some of her posts which show the problems which despite Francis are still there.
So the solution is now let us the politicians, who are unaccountable architects of any healthcare system, now "train" the HCAs, not the managers who were the implimentors of any NHS “system failure”. Neither the politician or the manager were responsible it was all the doing of the evil unqualified HCAs so let's get 'em.
Let us in effect (collaboratively buzz word here comrades) reinvent nursing and give HCAs 2 years training as we used to do for SENs and do it dumbland style. So Nicholson “I have regerts but I did it my way” will be happy you cannot believe it but he is still there
to paper over his cracks before walking away Jock free sorry to
continue the reforms and so 2 years training is a reform for the better to
correct a wrong comrades.
Let us take SENs and reinvent them as HCAs and provide what existed previously as now “more qualified” and therefore “better” individuals by “training” less able people to replace that was there before. This is not new concept think out of hours care for GPs, NHS 111 etc.
The former SENs who were often practical not intellectual nurses often ensured that wards ran smoothly despite some of the SRNs. SENs at least had some basic educational qualifications in contrast to the new breed of HCAs who will now no doubt graduate with a (polytechnic) degree after two years in a mortar board and gown in contrast to a qualification and real time hands on experience of patient care that the SENs once had.
If they are all chiefs who do you get to be Indians? Oh we forgot the HCA and so repeat the cycle . . . and what will you get at some point?
The next Staffordshire bull something . . .
Praise be to the Party for once again ignoring history. Where have they all been since 1947? More qualifications for the most junior and least able of staff will not eradicate the failures of those who create and manage the problem.