Sunday, 4 March 2012

The Dewar Commission at Stornoway - nurses staying in a patient's house

10,550. It is not the custom here that the nurse should live in the patient’s house? In Lewis the habit does not exist to any great extent of the nurse living in the house?
—No, not to any great extent.

10,551. Not even in maternity cases ?
—No, she is only a night in the house on occasions.

10,552. (Chairman.) We had evidence on the Mainland that the nurse not only lived in the house, but milked the cows, and that sort of thing, in Sutherland ?
—I am quite aware of that. That does not exist in Lewis as a regular practice.

10,553. (Lady Tullibardine.) Do you find that the nurse if not sleeping in the house can give sufficient attention to satisfy the family ?
—The people are satisfied because they don’t expect more., but from my point of view, it is not enough.

10,554. You don’t think she gives sufficient medical skill ?
—Of course in a confinement a woman likes to have a nurse if she can afford it for a week or more. Here, under the present conditions, these nurses are with the patient until the crisis is over, and they simply go and visit once or twice a day after that. In exceptional cases, where there is no help in the house, I understand some of them give help ; then they are bound to do it. The system, generally speaking, is that they are with the patient until the crisis is over, and then they simply visit twice a day after.

10,555. Do you think that that means that the patient gets sufficient nursing attendance ?
—No, but is better than nothing. If you wanted sutficient nursing attendance on this island— I mean for the nurse to live in the house you must remember there are 30,000 people here, and it is the only part of the Highlands where the population has been increasing during the last few years—if you wanted a sufficient nursing service to meet the suggestions made by your Ladyship, you would require to have three times as many nurses as you have at present.

10,556. The reason the nurse does not stay in the house is not because you think it undesirable, but because she has other cases going on at the same time ?
—Yes, that is so.

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