Drink and Drugs News DDN November 2018 - Page 19

Have your say on issues that count: www.drinkanddrugsnews.com CLiniCaL eye A MAtter of MEDIA SAVVY The news, and the skews, in the national media VAlue Attracting the right permanent nursing staff means offering quality of life, says Ishbel Straker I AM GOING TO SAY SOMETHING THAT IS A LITTLE CONTROVERSIAL… I understand and empathise with agency nurses. Now don’t shoot me down in flames, this does not mean I like the impact that agencies are having on our ever-decreasing budget, the lack of consistency with an agency nurse, or the resentment that people’s perception of agency nurses can breed within teams. What I mean by this statement is that I understand the attraction of working in this way and that we can’t keep believing that agency nurses are simply after the money – which, by the way, I don’t think makes them the void of morality that others seem to. With the well-publicised issues around the nursing pay increase – which was as disappointing as Theresa May’s dance moves – the resignation of the Royal College of Nursing chief executive and the turmoil that is sinking us further and further with the bursary removal, nursing is not a government priority. This means that wages are poor for what we do, and the levels of stress we have resting on our shoulders and the hours we put in are not reflective. Of course I understand why an agency is appealing when it can offer flexibility, better financial reward and, dare I say it, an ability to sleep better at night because the responsibility is significantly less. This sadly does our permanent staff no favours, as more weight rests on them and for less money. So what is the solution? This needs to be a trust and organisational response and it needs to be consistent. The NHS attempted to remove the use of agency nurses – and did it work? No, because the trusts need staffing. We need to talk to the nurses, discuss what they want, and have a really good look at the salaries – and I am not talking about 50p here and there. We need to consider the flexibility that is offered to them, not just from a rota perspective, but also when they are paid and how they can pick up extra shifts. Do they want progression? Possibly, but I don’t believe you join an agency for this; you join for the reasons already stated, and that should be the focus. We have to play the long game in attracting these nurses with realistic offers that will help to retain them, and make our services function with permanent staff who are proud to work for our organisations. Ishbel Straker is a clinical director, registered mental health nurse, independent nurse prescriber and board member of IntNSA ‘I am going to say something that is a little controversial… I understand and empathise with agency nurses.’ www.drinkanddrugsnews.com CANADA, AS WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD, has since the 1920s attempted to enforce a policy of prohibition urged on the rest of the world by its powerful southern neighbour…When Canada completes the legalisation of cannabis not even one of Donald Trump’s famous walls will be able to stop it gliding south to the US. Independent editorial, 17 October IF THERE IS A WHOLE SUPPLY CHAIN OF YOUNG PEOPLE whose lives have been damaged, that is because this government – and the majority of people in the Labour camp – prefer the ideological purity of criminalisa - tion to any evidence-backed policy of harm reduction. Criminalisation, as is so often the case, is the problem not the solution. Alex Powell, Metro, 3 October WHILE COUNTRIES SUCH AS PORTUGAL are turning towards a more progressive, public health approach to drugs, our home secretary is trying to drag us backwards with punitive tactics. The war on drugs is an abject catastrophe that has been the cause of untold deaths and the facilitator of a thriving criminal market. Emily Goddard, Guardian, 4 October EVERY TIME I HAVE BEEN ON QUESTION TIME, the rehearsal question — the one not broadcast — has been about whether we should legalise drugs. And everyone on the panel and audience seems to agree that we should either do it right now or ‘think about it’. There is always input from some skank on the public payroll who works with ‘drug users’ and will insist that legalisation would clear it up immediately and that we should never criminalise people with an ‘illness’. What you choose to do with your life, then, is now an illness. Rod Liddle, Sunday Times, 21 October WITH NO MONEY TO PAY FOR REHAB BEDS, local authorities are reduced to doling out drugs themselves – for what is maintenance, if not competing with illegal drug dealers? The case for rehab is normally focused on the same calculus of cost-benefit that’s led to their downfall. While it’s true that properly rehabilitated addicts and alcoholics often become productive and responsible members of society, it’s by no means always the case. Whereas maintenance programmes can often produce effective results in terms of lower reoffending rates and increased employability. Will Self, Guardian, 17 October WE WILL LOOK BACK and be utterly amazed that our top academic institutions tolerated for so long the taking of chemicals supplied by criminals. With cigarettes, initially we lacked the evidence that showed the harmful effects. On drugs, we already have the evidence. It is insane to let this continue. The tragedy is so many young lives have been destroyed while we were asleep to our responsibilities. Sir Anthony Seldon, Mail, 7 October November 2018 | drinkanddrugsnews | 19