‘We Can’t Even Get Basic Care Done’: What it’s Like Doing 12-Hour Shifts on an Understaffed NHS Ward


This is a powerful and upsetting read on the NHS — the free healthcare service provided by the United Kingdom. Increasingly underfunded, the staff is facing incredible pressure. Reading this essay from a healthcare assistant, you realize what heroic personal efforts are now being called upon to provide patient care.

The family have been called in to say goodbye, but there’s no telling if they will arrive in time. The student nurse and I give him a wash and reposition him to make him more comfortable. I decide to give him a wet shave as well, which he seems to enjoy. Things appear to be under control for now, so I tell the student nurse I’m going to catch up on paperwork. She nods and tells me she will stay with the man who is passing away. She removes her gloves and holds his hand.

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