Nurses under pressure due to failing NHS mental health sector

Nurses working under health boards and trusts in the UK are suffering because of increased horus and work pressure within the NHS, especially the mental health sector.

Nurses all over the country are finally standing up against the management of staff, funding and cuts in the NHS, that they claim is having a knock on effect on the treatment of mental health patients.

In September of this year, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) came under fire as proposals to cut mental health funding emerged. Unions have now warned that the mental health sector is reeling from previous central cuts to funding.

“The mental health sector’s problems have most definitely been recognised, and initiatives are being taken, however there is such a serious lack of funding, mental health nurses, psychiatrists and spaces for observatory diagnosing in hospitals, that it will be months before any proper difference will be seen.” says Shaun Lintern, the Health Service Journal’s (HSJ) patient safety senior correspondent.

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It is reported that some nurses have started suffering from stress-related mental health problems.

“The cuts have made a dramatic impact on the quality of care we provide. There is never enough staff to effectively care for the patients and both the patients and staff suffer as a consequence.

“The contrast is the tears, the stress, the lack of staff and the inability to help those who desperately need me the most.” 

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Nurses claim that all areas of the NHS are being stretched during shifts. Emily Armstrong, a nurse for the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board spoke about her experience on the ward.

“Some patients are simply neglected. Without the staff how can we nurses and health care assistants please every patient to their own needs.

“When student nurses qualify it takes about two months for our pins to arrive, within that 2 months we are not allowed to work as qualified nurses. They shouldn’t complain about lack of staffing when instead they could be more prompt about getting the student nurses working.”

Government sources have explained that there is a committment to improve the mental health sector for both patients and staff, however it is simply a matter of “how and when.”

“The Government has committed to making much-needed improvements to mental health services but we are concerned it does not yet have sound foundations to build on,” the Public Accounts committee (PAC) chairperson Meg Hillier said in a recent parliamentary report.

Zoe Webster, a mental health patient from Leeds who sought treatment from her GP, spoke out against the mental health sector of the NHS.

“I was referred from my GP after discussing my problems to call a counsellor, however the counselling centre had a three month waiting list.

“I then had to phone for a telephone appointment which was a further three weeks waiting, to be on hold for forty five minutes, to then being told I was not eligible for counselling because of alcohol intake.”

In 2014, parliament published a policy paper; “Mental health services: achieving better access by 2020“.

The plan will begin to ensure that the mental and physical health sectors will be given equal priority within the NHS in England and Wales over the next four years.

Mental health day, which just passed on October 10th, was advocated by many celebrities including James Corden, Liam Gallagher, Prince Harry and Ed Sheeran, to raise awareness of problems associated with mental health in people of all ages.

Charlotte Brooke

About the Author

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This article was produced by a student or students on the BA in Journalism at Leeds Beckett University.

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