Monday 11 June 2012

Campaigning for Bliss - What is it All About?

If you read my blog post yesterday you will know that I attended a Bliss Campaigner's Training Day. I started to think about campaigning in the run up to the last election, and emailed my local MP David Nuttall. Bliss make it so easy and if you want to get involved in even just a small way visit the website and find out how.

Joseph and I meeting David Nutall MP for Bury North last year

I met with my MP at Westminster in November last year, but since then have gone a little cold. The main reason being is that as well as having a lot on in my own life, neonatal services in the Greater Manchester area have gone through a gigantic shake up, and now I am ready to get going again.

So just what are we campaigning for exactly? Bliss' latest campaign is SOS Save our Specialist Nurses. So just why is this so important and why do they need saving?

Not all nurses are equal. All nurses are vitally important, but as you can appreciate within nursing are a number of specialties. Looking after the smallest, sickest of babies takes special training, experience and qualities. Not only are you nursing that baby, but you are looking after the whole family, and training them, so that in time they can take over the care of that baby.

One of our amazing nurses give Joseph a bath
 When Joseph was spending his 24 days in the Intensive Care Unit we had a team of amazingly brilliant nurses. They stayed calm, they taught us his care, they anticipated problems. The biggest thing that three of my favourite ones did for me, was tell me when I needed to fight. There were a couple of times where there were controversial things being suggested, and they would give me a heads up as to best practice, and give me information.

What is a specialist nurse and why are they under threat? A specialist nurse is one who has done post qualification training in neonatal care. A nurse can work in a unit without this, but usually under the supervision of experienced staff. The Neonatal Toolkit, a Department of Health and NHS document, states that the benchmark is that 70% of nursing staff should be qualified in specialty. Some units are hitting this benchmark, but worryingly this is not the case for all units.

What is happening now under the current financial pressures is that the NHS is being asked to make efficiency savings and cut their expenditure. This part of the Bliss campaign website explains more about how this is being done.

My next steps as a campaigner are to ask my MP to find out our updated figures for the number of specialist nurses in our units. The figures I currently have are before reconfiguration and I need to know how this has affected that figure then act accordingly. I hope to meet with my MP in the lead up to November's activities, and see how we are doing, and where we need to go from here.

Campaigning is as involved as you want to make it. If you just want to send emails or letters, then that is fine, but I would urge you, that if you care about the care these tiny babies receive, that you join me in campaigning to save our specialist nurses.

1 comment:

  1. I admire how much the Bliss involves itself into helping not only for charity but also for now reaching out to nurses worldwide. It is an important things to be aware that not all nurses are equal. Some are being underemployed and worst, maltreated in the worst possible way just to have a job. It's good to know Bliss is trying to change that through ways they can.