‘Bring back matrons to hospital wards’ – Cecil Graham

The outgoing chairman of one of the now defunct Health and Social Services Councils is today calling for a return of matrons to hospital wards.

Cecil Graham, chair of the Eastern Health and Social Service Council, said he hopes the new single Patient and Client Council will also work to improve care planning for patients receiving support in the community.

With the final stages of the RPA coming into force today, Mr Graham said he hopes the public will enjoy higher standards of support and advice.

He called on the Patient Client Council to continue with two significant issues which the Eastern Health and Social Services Council had been pursuing — one was a call for the return of matrons in hospital wards and the other was for improved and updated care planning in respect of patients and clients who receive support in the community.

He explained: “The Council supports the concept that ward managers in acute hospitals should be adequately empowered to take responsibility for all that happens on their wards and be able to take immediate action to address any deficiency.[Chris Cairns]“It is vital that such ward managers should be suitably supported by Health Service management to exercise these powers fully so that they do not become scapegoats for matters over which they have no control.

“The Council fully supports the Respect Agenda which should be pursued through workforce planning which should clearly and explicitly take account of the need for health and care staff to be given sufficient time to offer compassionate care and to establish effective and supportive communication with patients and relatives.”

And calling for improved community based care planning, he said the Council had given positive support to proposals for reform and modernisation produced by local Trusts which make community based care a cornerstone of future care provision for older people, those people with long term conditions and for people with mental health problems.

He continued: “During consultation the Council recognised there was widespread public scepticism over the ability of health and social care to provide adequate care in communities, rather than in hospitals and other facilities.

“Through its advocacy work it was clear it was due to an apparent lack of care planning – or the awareness that such plans existed – that was an important factor in complaints received.

“It was therefore vital that in the preparation of effective and relevant care planning patients and their carers are fully involved.”

The Health and Social Service Councils were formed in 1991 and had a duty to represent the public’s views and interests, to review the work of health and social services and to recommend any improvements needed. Under the final stage of RPA being implemented today, they are being replaced by a single Patient and Client Council.