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Discuss The Ethical, Political And Practice Implications On Accountability In Nursing As A Result Of The Current Economic Climate And Recent Cuts In Health Care Spending.

3588 words - 14 pages

IntroductionNational Health Service (NHS) came into existence in 1948, with the assumption, that everybody, regardless of wealth should receive valuable healthcare. Since then, it became the greatest publicly funded health service in the world, however the main principal of equal access to health care for all patients remains unchanged (NHS, 2011). The NHS is funded centrally by the government, who provides the budget from national taxation. Budget is then split and administered separately in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Department of Health (DH) is responsible for the NHS and the head of DH reports to the prime minister (NHS, 2011). NHS provides health care to more than 62m patients, employs more than 1.7 people and has a budget of roughly 106 billion pounds. However, due to current economic climate, NHS aims to make efficiency savings of 20 billion pounds by the year 2014 (RCN, 2010a). As a result, in November 2011, 56,056 posts were lost or at risk across the UK (RCN, 2012). Increasing life expectancy, aging society, advances in medicine and expanding public expectations, result in continuous increase in care volume to be delivered (RCN, 2010b). It is important to understand how all these changes will affect nursing profession, as its nurses who will be required to adapt to the continuing alterations within healthcare system.This essay aims to analyse and critically apprise evidence from a variety of sources in relation to accountability. All evidence will relate to the current economic climate and proposed cuts in healthcare spending. Professional, ethical and practice implications in relation to advocacy in nursing will be discussed. There are many areas that could be explored within the topic, such as whistle blowing, guidelines or decision making, however this piece of work will focus on staffing levels, skill mix and staff training. Accountability will be defined and its role in nursing practice explained. Critical perception on government proposals and launched agendas will be included in the main body. Evidence is going to be evaluated and combined with nursing practice. Finally, to bring the work to an end, conclusions will be drawn.AccountabilityMilton (2008) defines accountability as an important, legal, ethical and moral term that reflects an attitude of person's obligation to other people, groups, organizations or societies. However, as observed by Watson and Tilley (2004), accountability in nursing is a very broad and complex notion that can be considered from many different perspectives. White (1977 cited in McGann 2004), describes modern concept of professional accountability in nursing as assumption that nurse is a member of a profession and it depends on individual nurses being aware that they are a part of that profession as well as accepting the responsibilities and rights that are associated with it. Similarly, it is stated in the NMC Code of Conduct that as professionals, nurses are personally accountable...

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