Letter: Nursing crisis

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Sir: Reports of a crisis in nurse recruitment should be heeded. No amount of reorganisation, rhetoric or White Papers will be of any account unless we can persuade sufficient people to take up the profession.

Pay is an important factor but not the only one. My own experience suggests that nurses at ward level have become disillusioned as they have felt devalued with the general drift from public service to business ethic.

There is a sense of two cultures within a hospital. One is traditional, with practical concerns about patient care and how to manage with not enough beds and too few staff on duty, the other occupied with techniques and language imported from the business school.

They have little interaction and each feels aggrieved that the other does not rate it more highly. Current plans may help to change this but will only succeed if those at the sharp end are really listened to. Perhaps some of your nursing readers could tell us why they would not choose the profession again or recommend it to their children.

PETER FISHER

Chairman

National Health Service Consultants' Association

Banbury, Oxfordshire

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