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Nursing chief: 'Restore compassion'

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Medical advances have meant patients are much more likely to survive our illness, get better pain relief, spend less time in hospital.

But a growing number of people say the care they get from nurses has fallen well below the standard they would expect. While the clinical aspect of health care has risen, the "care" aspect has fallen - especially for elderly people.

There have been stories of people being ignored by nurses when they are in pain, left to lie in urine-soaked beds or worse.

As a result, the Chief Nursing Officer For England, Jane Cummings, has begun a campaign today to "restore compassion" to nursing care.

Speaking to the Today programme, Ms Cummings said: "Today's healthcare is highly complex. Patients need lots of care and there's an increasing number of older people, and we don't get it right all the time.

"What this strategy is doing is asking what action we can take up and down the country to really try and make a difference. We're not saying it's all perfect, but our patients deserve it, and it's part of my job to make sure we do the best we can for our patients all the time.

"We're making sure that the support that nurses get is there to enable them to give the best care possible. Being a nurse or a midwife, and caring for highly complex patients day in, day out is quite emotionally draining, it's hard work. It does really affect people, so we have a duty to look after the staff as well as the patients."


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