Posted by: Witch Doctor | November 21, 2009

Nurse Anne is doing her nut!


And quite right too!

Nurse Anne, in the view of the witching community, is doing an essential service for patients, in bringing to the attention of the world, the way it really is in many wards in the UK during this wonderful age of “Change” and “Modernisation” and “Diversity” and “Talent” and “Leadership” and “Contestability” and “Plurality” and now “Polysystems” with “spokes” and all the other meaningless jargon that was ushered in by Tony Blair and his “Third Way” cronies that surrounded him and followed him and are still following him.

Nurse Anne is having a go at the doctors including The Witch Doctor.

In fact, The Witch Doctor agrees with most of what Nurse Anne says in her post apart from the implication that UK doctors are a cocaine snorting bunch, and The Witch Doctor’s views on apprenticeship. The Witch Doctor has a post on the topic of apprenticeship and the creep that will follow. This post is likely to appear sometime soon during The Witching Hour. The other thing is that, as a doctor, The Witch Doctor does not feel threatened by the “dumbing down” that the Skills Escalator is intended to produce. No. It is as a patient she feels threatened by this, not as a doctor.

So, why exactly do we witches feel that The Witch Doctor thinks Nurse Anne is quite right to do her nut about doctors?

Well, The Witch Doctor frequently does her nut about doctors too, albeit not in the same illustrative language of Nurse Anne.

If you are a hospital consultant, then we witches suggest that at some point over the weekend, you pour yourself a coffee, sit down by the fire and spend an hour or so reading through Nurse Anne’s blog.


We witches think every single hospital consultant in the land should read it.

We think every single hospital administrator should read it too.

We think every member of The Department of Health should read it.

No. Forget the last sentence. That would be counterproductive.

Consultants should read it because they should be supporting these nurses who are struggling against all odds in certain pockets of the NHS.

Consultants are not supporting them.

Ask yourself whether you have seen any of Nurse Anne’s accounts happening in your ward (if you have a ward that is – your patients are probably scattered all over the place nowadays, but that is a separate issue that you as consultants should have dealt with long ago).

And then ask yourself, does it bother you that patients lie in wet beds, are undernourished and don’t get their medications on time.

Well, Does it?

If it doesn’t worry you, then let me know who you are so that all the witches will avoid you like the plague when they are ill.

If it does worry you, have you asked yourself why it is happening?

Do you know the headcount of nurses in your unit?

Qualified nurses. Health Care Assistants. Cadets.

Have you watched them in a cluster talking about Big Brother instead of attending to patients? (Some do, Nurse Anne, I have watched closely. On the other hand, most don’t.) Most are excellent nurses who are run off their feet trying to nurse to the best of their ability but can’t. They are being asked to do an impossible task much of the time. The Witch Doctor has watched carefully and has done some simple arithmetic.

As a consultant do you trust your Trust Administration in not to squeeze the last ounce of flesh out of the nurses in your ward?

Come Monday morning, here is an exercise that all consultants could do for the benefit of their patients.

Get The Abacus out.

How many patients in your ward need help with toileting?

How long does it take to deal with each patient?

How long do patients in your ward (if your have one) wait for a bed-pan or commode?

How many patients in your ward need help with feeding?

How long does it take to feed a patient?

How long does it take to do the drug round?

How many times is the nurse in your ward interrupted when doing a drug round?

Do multiplication sums.

Lots of them.

Do the figures tie up with staff numbers that are appropriate to the level of expertise of each member of staff?


Then what are you going to do about it?

Let me tell you.

You sit down with the nurse in charge of the ward. Not the one who is straddling the barbed wire fence between government administrator and nurse.

You say to him or her.

These are our patients. We have responsibility for them.

Together we will sort this out.

And do it.

That is what you are being paid a consultant salary to do. To ensure your patients are diagnosed, treated, and if possible cured. If that is not possible then you ensure your patients are cared for, comfortable and safe. You know that.

The medical and nursing professions need to work as one.

Together, both of you – the “hands on” senior medic and “hands on” senior nurse, with the help of The Abacus will carry great clout.

This government wants you divided.

They do not want you to have clout.

If you do not do this as consultants, you are letting nurses and patients down.

And for pities sake, if you are a hands-on consultant, don’t go bleating to your clinical director and medical director that “something will need to be done.” Ignore the hierarchy. As a consultant you can do this. You are an independent practitioner. These people are hindered because they have chosen to straddle the painful barbed wire fence.

See to it yourself.

Do you not know that you, the hands-on consultant, and the hands-on senior nurse, are The Leaders?

If you take on your rightful role together as The Leaders, this will never happen again.

redapple.jpg a red apple ……………………

The Witch Doctor – Link to a random page





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  1. […] Witch Doctor placed a little Third Way intertwinglement experiment in Saturday’s post. It was so deeply hidden, she doesn’t expect anyone to spot it. Especially those who refuse to […]

  2. […] of these issues reminds me of a post called “Nurse Anne is doing her nut“.  It is an interesting post and if you can bear the frequent referrals to […]

  3. You right Witch Doctor – too few doctors are concerned about their nurses and their wards and their patients. And too many have their snouts in the gravy train

    Doctors must back their nurses if they want their patients looked after properly, but perhaps they don’t. At the moment, how would anyone know?

  4. […] And understand that those managers are not hands-on in the NHS are abusing nurses and consequently patients because they will not use The Abacus. […]

  5. […] Simple observation and The Abacus is all you need. […]

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