Speaking in response to Harriet Sergeant's article in the Daily Telegraph on declining standards in nursing (The truth about NHS hospitals, 29 November) and the report on which it is based, Managing not to Manage: Management in the NHS, The King's Fund chief executive, Rabbi Julia Neuberger said:
'This raises several concerns for The King's Fund.
'The article anonymously quotes a 'member' of The King's Fund, who was critical of the current system of training nurses in the UK. Unfortunately, we do not know the identity of the person in question and it is important the public realises that this is not a view shared or endorsed in any way by The King's Fund as a whole.
'The King's Fund is, in any case, not a membership organisation as Harriet Sergeant's article suggests, but rather an independent charitable foundation that works for better health, particularly in London.
'As an organisation, we recognise that nurses are facing considerable challenges. High vacancy and turnover rates contribute to tremendous pressure nurses are often placed under. Despite this, we believe most nurses are working to the best of their ability to deliver the best possible standards of care to patients. We acknowledge that there is always room for improvement; what we need now is acknowledgement of what is good along with constructive comments to help nurses develop their considerable skills.
'The King's Fund has been working alongside key stakeholders in London to come up with creative solutions for boosting recruitment and retention rates among nurses and other health care professionals. Articles of this kind, and the report on which it is based, only serve to further damage the morale of an already undervalued profession. Instead of continually bashing the NHS and its dedicated workforce, we would like to see organisations working more closely together to help the NHS attract and, just as importantly, retain the staff it needs to deliver patient care fit for the 21st-century.'
Notes to editors:
1. For further information, or interviews with The King's Fund staff, please contact Daniel Reynolds in the public affairs team on 020 7307 2581 or 07831 554927.