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NHS will face 60 days of NYE parties during Olympics


“There is nothing to say that


it is not perfectly possible for us to manage the number of celebratory events happening around the capital. “However, this is not to say


we shouldn’t be doing a whole range of activities to minimise the impact and prevent any unnecessary illness and injury.” Janet Davies, Executive


Director of Nursing and Service Delivery at the RCN, said nurses will find the volume of events “very challenging”. “Nurses in London 2012


Nurses will have to prepare themselves for 60 days worth of New Year’s Eve parties throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Speaking at a public health


conference hosted by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), Hilary Ross, 2012 Programme Director for NHS London, said there will be “high health risks” associated with the 1600 ‘Glastonbury-style’ celebratory events planned in the


UK during the months between May – when the Olympic torch arrives in the UK – and Septem- ber – when the Paralympic Games reaches its finale. Research on previous


Olympic host nations, such as Vancouver and Sydney, suggests alcohol and substance misuse could be “particular issues” for the NHS during the games. In an attempt to minimise the impact of such festival-like


events, Ross confirmed ‘booze buses’ will be parked in “strategic places” around the capital. Despite her warning to RCN


members, Ross played down the prospect of additional demands being placed on the NHS during the games. “There is no evidence to


suggest we are going to see a huge demand in healthcare services during the Olympic Games,” she said.


designated hospitals will find the months of the Olympics very challenging if this predication over the sheer number of events turns out to be the case, especially with the games coming at a time of increased pressure and cuts to frontline services,” she said. A DH spokesperson insisted


the NHS has “robust plans” in place to prepare for any additional demands created by the Olympic Games and ensure the healthcare needs of local people are not “compromised”.


Culture change necessary to stop ‘box ticking’ practices


Nursing culture has to change if nurses are to move away from public health responsibilities becoming “box ticking exercises,” said the government’s director of nursing. Viv Bennett said a culture change is needed to enable nurses


to begin asking ‘healthy’ people the “difficult questions” about their lifestyle. Training courses aimed at building a nurse’s resilience for when


their advice is ignored by patients is also lacking, Bennett claimed. “As well as nurses having to continue to be very good as rescuing people, they also need to try to bring prevention into


every thing they do,” she said. “Practice nurses have to strike the right balance between


treating patients who are ill and stopping people from getting ill.” Bennett said there is also a need to better educate the public to


show them nurses are not just there to help them when they get sick. Thanks to nursing education embracing public health and the


role of prevention “much more so than before.” Sandra Grieve, Chair of the Royal College of Nursing’s (RCN)


Public Health Forum, said the college is “working hard” to ensure all nurses have a role in public health.


4 Nursing in Practice March/April 2012


www.nursinginpractice.com


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