Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters We need to talk about nursing

Let’s look at system failure

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 28 June 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d3970
  1. Alison Metcalfe, professor of health care research1,
  2. Alison While, professor of community nursing1,
  3. Debra Bick, professor of evidence based midwifery1,
  4. Anne Marie Rafferty, professor of nursing policy1
  1. 1Florence Nightingale School of Nursing & Midwifery, London SE1 8WA, UK
  1. alison.metcalfe{at}

Nothing can excuse the reprehensible nursing care described by Delamothe.1 Nurses providing deplorable care are not worthy of their title, but the issues are wider. Why has this type of behaviour gone unchallenged by senior health professionals and managers, and what is wrong with a system that perpetuates this degree of inhumanity? The “sorry state” of nursing in some …

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