I’m pretty confident that we’ve all been in the position of working with someone who just isn’t very good at their job, lacks competence, probably suffers from a lack of good leadership and as a result makes mistakes. When that person works on a till in a shop, at an office, in a restaurant-those mistakes matter, but by and large I am guessing that barring health and safety mishaps, not many people will get hurt as a result.
Now place those “not-very-good” employees in a hospital, school or nursery setting and what’s more, remove the leaders who will be working to improve those staff, increase the ratios of responsibility for those staff and ask them to work longer hours for less pay. The net result WILL be accidents and very likely dangerous ones.
2 years ago in December I delivered my son. It was a traumatic birth and resulted in a post-partum hemorrhage. This hemorrhage occurred after I had been moved onto the post-natal ward. I had been shown to my bed with my husband and new born son and had been left there. 30 minutes later I desperately needed a pee, but no matter how often I pressed the buzzer no-one came. So I got up and made it to the on-ward toilet. I sat down and that’s when it happened, blood. Lots and lots of blood. I managed to pull the emergency cord, and pull the door open. The woman in the bed opposite the toilet saw me passing out and although having just delivered her own baby, jumped up and got the alarm going. I have been told it took another few minutes to get an actual nurse to me, the first on the scene was a very lovely, but completely ineffectual young trainee, I remember vaguely that she kept repeating “I can’t give you anything, I’m not allowed to administer”. Clearly I survived, clearly it turned out OK, but I ended up having to stay in for a full week while I recovered from acute anemia as a result and to face the trauma of a transfusion. I really believe it would have been avoided had a member of staff been on hand to get me a bed-pan, or help me to the toilet
I have said before and I will say it again, I have the utmost respect for those working in the public sector, the nurses and doctors at the hospital where I delivered my son were wonderful, kind, considerate. They were also exhausted, stretched and frankly there just weren’t enough of them. I delivered my son in a side room, having lost my “slot” in the delivery room because I had him after 52 hours instead of 24.
If nursery ratios increase, all that will happen is there will be more accidents. If nurses continue to be cut back, patients AND nurses will suffer. You can let shelves not get stacked in time, you can give someone the wrong change, you can turn up late to a shift in a pub. When it starts happening and people’s lives are involved you run such horrific risks. The only people that will avoid those risks will be those who can afford to pay for private health care, better nurseries, better pre-schools. This is another way to generate a divide, it may not have been a conscious decision, but leaving the risk of damage at the door of the poor is exactly what these cuts will mean.