Blurred figures of people with medical uniforms in hospital corridor

‘National emergency’ declared

The Royal College of Nursing has claimed that there is now a ‘national emergency’ in corridor care, and has called for political action.

According to a new report from the RCN, more than 37% of the nursing workforce that are based in typical hospital settings are having to deliver care in inappropriate places such as corridors. This information is based on a survey of almost 11,000 frontline nursing staff members across the UK and, according to the RCN, shows the extent to which corridor care has been normalised, as patients are more regularly treated on chairs in corridors for extended periods of time.

With the emergency declared, the RCN has stated that these events must now be determined as ‘Never Events’ within the NHS, putting them into the same category as occurrences such as a patient having the wrong limb operated on, or a foreign object being left inside a patient’s body.

This news has come with the publication of the Corridor Care: Unsafe, Undignified, Unacceptable report from the RCN that has used survey findings and member testimonies to paint a picture of the state of corridor care across the UK. It has found that, of those who have to deliver care in an inappropriate setting, 53% claimed that it left them without access to equipment such as oxygen and suction, whilst 67% said that patient privacy and dignity were compromised by the practice.

Acting General Secretary and Chief Executive at the Royal Collage of Nursing, Professor Nicola Ranger, said:

“This is a tragedy for our profession. Our once world-leading services are treating patients in car parks and store cupboards. The elderly are languishing on chairs for hours and patients are dying in corridors. The horror of this situation cannot be understated. It is a national emergency for patient safety and today we are raising the alarm.

“Treating patients in corridors used to be an exceptional circumstance. Now it is a regular occurrence and a symptom of a system in crisis.

“Patients shouldn’t have to end up at the doors of our emergency departments because they can’t get a GP appointment, a visit from a district nurse or a social care package. But that is the reality. Corridor care is a scourge in our hospitals, but we know the solution is to invest in our entire health and care system - and its nursing workforce.”

A call has also been made for mandatory national reporting of patients that are receiving care in corridors, with this revealing the full extent of hospital overcrowding and forming part of a plan to eradicate the practice. This would also involve RCN members raising their concerns when care is taking place in an inappropriate setting.


Image credit: iStock

Video credit: The Royal Corridor of Nursing

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NHE May/June 2024

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