Matrons: Come back
PUBLISHED: 17:27 02 July 2008 | UPDATED: 09:54 23 August 2010
A FORMER nurse whose son died after a hospital sent him home is supporting the return of the matron as the NHS celebrates its 60th anniversary. On Monday health minister Lord Darzi announced a 10-year plan for the service, including financial incentive
A FORMER nurse whose son died after a hospital sent him home is supporting the return of the 'matron' as the NHS celebrates its 60th anniversary.
On Monday health minister Lord Darzi announced a 10-year plan for the service, including financial incentives, as it marks the landmark date this weekend.
Margaret Cox, 68, who worked in the NHS from 1973 until her retirement, is a strong advocate of the role of matrons and feels they will restore good working practices.
Her son Stephen, then 44, tragically died from heart failure in February 2003 after being sent home from Darent Valley Hospital. It led to a number of procedural changes at the hospital including ensuring anyone complaining of chest pain must be treated within half-an-hour.
Mrs Cox, who worked at the former West Hill hospital and then the old Gravesend hospital, said: "The NHS is a good thing but I think it has lost its way. For me, it's 'bring back matron'. Give her back the authority to organise the hospital like they did when I was nursing. We used to use a gown, a mask, a hat and gloves before you touched any wound. They haven't even got treatment rooms these days. If a patient had had an operation we take them into the treatment room which is kept absolutely sterile. It's not the doctors and the surgeons it's care on the wards - that's their downfall. It's the weakest link."
Health minister Alan Johnson announced in June this year that 5538 'modern matrons' are working in the NHS. Prime Minister Gordon Brown spoke about the need for more matrons at the Labour Party conference last year. The former nurse, who lives in Hollybush Road, Gravesend, also says more on the job training needs to be made available. She said: "I started nursing in 1973 and I did my training on the job. It's ridiculous that they've got separate nursing colleges - they need to learn on the job, under the supervision of a practical nurse and a theory nurse."
A spokesperson for Darent Valley Hospital said: "As we celebrate 60 years of the NHS a superior number of high quality cardiac services are available from Darent Valley then ever before. Hundreds of patients are now benefiting from a state-of-the-art local cardiac service.
"The Heart Centre opened in January 2007 and has three Consultant Cardiologists, Specialist Nurse Clinics and Specialist Chest Pain Assessment. Previously patients had to travel to London for many of the heart procedures now available locally including angioplasty. Darent Valley now outperforms on many of the Government's targets for coronary heart disease."
Happy Birthday NHS -