LETTERS: Bedside manners, but very few beds

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From Ms R. A. James Sir: In response to `` `Good manners' promised in NHS charter" (19 January), as a former employee of an NHS trust, I resent the statement made on my behalf by Ms Bottomley to promise "good manners and considerate behaviour".

I, like many other health service staff, pride myself in providing the highest standard of care in very difficult circumstances. On the rare occasion I have been impolite to a client it has been due to the pressures of trying to manage an acute shortage of beds, as well as ensuring that every acutely ill person who required care received appropriate attention. Furthermore, is Ms Bottomley aware of the daily abuse endured by health service staff, which ranges from verbal abuse to actual physical assault?

This juggling act with beds caused me to leave full-time nursing, as I was no longer able to care for clients to the high standard that I myself would expect.

If Ms Bottomley is serious about ensuring courteous attitudes towards clients, she should look to reduce the stress that is a daily part of working in the current NHS.

Sincerely, R. A. JAMES Chichester, West Sussex 19 January The writer is using a pseudonym.

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