Whoa!! Did anyone catch this quote?

  1. Here's another executive shooting off his mouth...
    And he "wants the board to give him support!"...


    The chairman of an NHS Trust faced calls for his resignation yesterday after saying that agency nurses "kill more people than they save".



    Barrie Blower made the comments while talking to the daughter of a patient who had died from lung cancer. He now says that he may be forced out of his job.

    Tracy Davies, 42, made an appointment with Mr Blower after her mother, Sally Sargent, died at Walsall Manor Hospital, West Midlands, last December.

    She was concerned about the level of care her mother had received and decided secretly to record the conversation so that Walsall Hospitals NHS Trust could not later retract any statements.

    Halfway through the three-hour meeting Mr Blower told her: "It's an awful set-up. We advertise in the Philippines and in India to attract nurses to be attached to the hospital to try and get rid of these agency people.

    "They kill more people than they bloody save, these do. It's an awful bloody set-up but we've got to have them."

    Pete Lowe, regional officer for Unison, which represents the majority of nurses working within the NHS, said: "If Mr Blower has made this statement then I see no other option than for him to resign.

    "Further, if the board decides to back him then I see that as an inference that they support his views.

    "It is a disgraceful situation that he should label any group of people in such a manner."

    "If there are any difficulties with any particular group of nurses it is a direct result of a lack of training, a lack of induction and a lack of staff working on the wards."

    Mrs Davies and her husband, Paul, 41, from Erdington, Birmingham, said they were horrified that a person in a position of responsibility would make such a comment as Mr Blower's.

    "I was quite shocked" Mrs Davies said. "He was very negative on the use of agency staff altogether, not just on the caring side."

    Yesterday Mr Blower retracted his "wild" statement and apologised for any offence caused. "It wasn't a literal statement," he said. "It was in the middle of a very long and difficult conversation with Mrs Davies.

    "What I was trying to say in a very emphatic way, and obviously my choice of words wasn't very good, was that hospitals really survive on having direct labour. The nursing staff employed directly know the patients, they understand the patients' needs. On occasions when we fetch in agency staff, their care cannot be as strong and as good as that of our direct nurses."

    He added: "I would ask my board to give me support. If they feel they can't do that then that's it.

    "I made the comment merely to emphasise a position. If it is felt that those comments are so outrageous that the confidence in the hospital is being put at risk then obviously I would have to take a look at it.

    "I have written to all staff explaining how sorry I am that this unfortunate incident has occurred."

    The trust yesterday ordered an investigation into the numbers of incidents relating to agency nurses compared to those involving permanent members of staff.

    Sue James, chief executive, said: "I want to have the evidence to demonstrate that our patients can have every confidence in the care we offer, regardless of what type of nurse actually provides it."

    Ann Leedham-Smith, West Midlands director for the Royal College of Nursing, said: "The RCN is astounded at these comments about agency nurses."
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   mattsmom81
    It is one of the dangers of agency work in the states, too....we make easy scapegoats for facilities and regular staff.
  4. by   fergus51
    I don't think using agency nurses is ideal under ordinary circumstances, but I do believe agency nurses are just as capable of meeting nursing standards of care.
  5. by   zenman
    And sometimes the agency nurses, with experience working in many facilities, can provide better care than the regular staff.
  6. by   gwenith
    Exactly Zenman - there are pro's and con's. I think we have all met the agency nurse - who - shall we say - is less than an ideal nurse but they do not usually last long - at least not around here. The hospitals will simply ring the agency and refuse to have them back.

    We have some "regular" agency staff and some who were our own staff but for various reasons went agency - they are THE most wonderful resource we could possibly have.

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