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Patient Handling Techniques

Volume 15: debated on Wednesday 16 December 1981

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will take steps to provide that it should be the responsibility of the employing health authority to ensure that whenever a nurse asks for help in the handling of a patient, such help should be immediately available;(2) if he will take steps to provide that it should be the duty of the employing health authority to ensure that prompt treatment is available for any nurse who injures her back or who complains of back pain at work, and that after a back injury suitable light work should be offered to aid in recovery and rehabilitation;(3) if he will request health authorities to ensure that any non-nursing staff who may be called upon to assist in the handling of patients should be trained accordingly;(4) if he will take steps to require health authorities to develop procedures for the prompt investigation of all reported cases of back injury and of backache at work, together with any case of an accident which arises during the handling of a patient;(5) if he will establish a central unit similar to the National Health Service Supply Council for the routine study of the ergonomics and labour-efficiency of patient handling techniques, with a responsibility for monitoring current research and initiating such further investigations as may be necessary;(6) if he will take steps to require that the selection and ordering of equipment which may be used during the handling and movement of patients should take full account of ergonomic factors, work study considerations and of developments in nursing practice, and that such selection and ordering should only be undertaken after consultation with the appropriate members of nursing staff;(7) if he will take steps to establish a committee with a duty to keep under review the latest data from epidemiological, physiological, biomechanical and ergonomic studies relevant to the handling and movement of patients and to the equipment used, and to the occurrence of symptoms arising from the handling of patients and with the duty of making recommendations concerning training, nursing practice and the design of equipment;(8) if he will take steps to require that no nurse be required to lift or hold a patient at a distance from her body so that she is obliged to lean or stretch forward and lift or hold the patient at arm's length;(9) if he will take steps to require employing health authorities to observe and review the capacity of the learner-nurse to handle patients so that those nurses who are not strong enough or who are unduly susceptible to back symptoms are recognised at the earliest possible stage and counselled accordingly;(10) if he will take steps to provide for learner-nurses instruction in the techniques for handling patients and in the use of mechanical aids and hoists during the basic training of all learner-nurses;(11) if he will take steps to require all employing health authorities, agencies and institutions where nurses or nursing auxiliaries are employed to develop in-service training in the handling of patients and in the use of mechanical aids and hoists at an early stage;(12) if he will take steps to require all teachers of nurses, including tutors, clinical nurse teachers, health visitor tutors, district nurse tutors and the staff of occupational health departments of the National Health Service, to attend an instructors' course on the techniques of handling patients, on the aids of handling and on the use of mechanical lifts and hoists designed for the movement of patients, before undertaking the instruction of others or supervising in-service training.(13) if he will take steps to provide that no nurse should lift or hold the whole weight of the patient alone, other than in the case of babies or small children;(14) if he will take steps to provide for all teachers of nurses and for all nurses working in the community training and refresher courses on equipment for moving patients and on physiological, biomechanical and other data on the techniques of handling patients.

I shall let the right hon. Member have a reply as soon as possible.