Even when financial pressure is being felt so heavily up and down the country, it still seems odd that some trusts are asking senior nurses (in at least one case, at director level) to go back to the wards to help out on a regular basis. Read more ≫≫
No doubt nurses will respond in the right spirit - some may support it as a morale-boosting 'we are all in this together' measure. Others have expressed real enthusiasm and said it exactly chimes with the values that brought them into the NHS in the first place.
And if the practice was really intended to be of symbolic value it could perhaps be defended.
However, according to Royal College of Nursing the trusts concerned are admitting that it is simply an attempt to save money on agency nurses.
Using a highly paid individual to do low-paid work cannot possibly make good financial sense.
The fear must be - and it is a fear created by the actions of the trusts in question - that a kneejerk ban on agency and bank nursing has been followed by an equally ill-considered attempt to fill the resulting holes in service with people who are much better qualified to do other work.
Trusts that genuinely aspire to improve their efficiency need senior and experienced staff working on changing practice, not the bed linen.