Nursing system 'failing to cope'

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The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has criticised of one of the government's key proposals for improving care in the light of the scandal at Stafford Hospital.

The health secretary has said that nurses in training would spend a year working as health care assistants.

RCN president Andrea Spyropoulos has dismissed the proposal as a "really stupid idea".

The Department of Health said the college could not engage credibly in the debate until it had responded to criticism levelled at it over failures at Stafford hospital.

On the Today programme, head of the RCN Peter Carter said that "this idea is ill-thought through.

"It simply doesn't stack up and it isn't the reason why there were those major failings at mid-Staffordshire hospital."

Ann Clwyd, the Labour MP who's co-chairing the government's review into the way the NHS deals with complaints, had her own experience of poor hospital care when her husband died.

She said that a complete reform on nursing training is needed.

"I've had letters from people all over the country and they all say the same thing about nurse training.

"They say that nurse training is not fit for purpose, no hands-on experience, students need to know how it really is, warts and all, need to reintroduce apprentice-style nursing," she said.

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Monday 22 April 2013.

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