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Special Hospitals (Nursing Standards)

Volume 15: debated on Monday 14 December 1981

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what arrangements he is making for the maintenance of nursing standards at the four special hospitals, in the light of the General Nursing Council's unwillingness to approve training at these establishments.

The present position on approval by the General Nursing Council of basic nurse training at the four special hospitals is as follows:

Rampton hospital. As the hon. Member will know, the General Nursing Council announced last week that it has decided to withdraw approval from the nurse training school at Rampton hospital but without prejudice to the position of student and pupil nurses now in training there. A number of changes, some of which arise from recommendations in the Boynton report, have been made or are planned at Rampton hospital, and when these are fully effective, it is the intention of the Department and the Rampton hospital review board to apply to the General Nursing Council for a further inspection and approval as a nurse training school.
Broadmoor hospital. The report of an inspection in late 1979 led to approval of the school for two years. The report also made nine specific recommendations, of which seven have been fully implemented and two (concerning improved patient accommodation and increasing numbers of trained staff) are being implemented. It is understood that a further inspection is likely in the latter half of 1982.
Moss Side hospital, Liverpool. The school was inspected in November 1980, when a number of recommendations were made and provisional approval of the school was given for one year, after which there should be a further inspection. The GNC was informed in May 1981, that the various recommendations had been implemented. The Department has been informed that the GNC will be making a further inspection early in 1982.
Park Lane hospital, Liverpool. This school trains nurses for the new Park Lane hospital. GNC inspectors visited the school in November 1980, when they made a number of detailed recommendations which have been implemented. Following that visit, approval of the school for a period of two years was confirmed.
The Department is also considering the question of nurse training at the special hospitals more generally in the light of a suggestion by the mental nurses committee of the General Nursing Council that they would like to discuss the suitability of these hospitals for basic nurse training.
We are improving the standards of care and treatment of patients in the special hospitals by increases in the levels of staffing and experience of doctors, nurses and the other disciplines providing services for patients; by development in organisational arrangements, in-service training and in the patterns of treatment and care; and by improvements in patient accommodation resulting from continuing significant capital investment. The absence of new trainees at Rampton hospital for the present, while adding to the difficulties with which the Hospital has to contend, will not have any immediate effect on the maintenance and development of nursing standards and patient care at that Hospital.
In the longer term, it is clearly essential that the special hospitals should continue to train or recruit adequate numbers of qualified nurses who are also trained in dealing with the special problems of patients in these hospitals. The Department, in consultation with the Council and other bodies concerned, will be seeking to ensure that this continues to be so; it is fully accepted that the education of special hospital nurses must fulfil the requirements of the statutory training body.