By Rory Reynolds
A PLAN to give nurses pedometers to monitor how far they walk every day has been blasted as “ hair brained” by a top Scots politician.
Nurses in 23 wards in the NHS Greater Glasgow heath board have been equipped with the gadgets – which measure the number of steps they take every day.
The scheme aims to scrutinise the way nurses do their rounds and wards are organised.
But one critic labeled the idea “a hair-brained scheme” and another said that those behind the scheme “need to get their heads examined.”
Mary Scanlon MSP, Conservative spokeswoman for health, said that the scheme was a distraction from the real issues in hospitals.
She said: “I think there are many ways of measuring the delivery of care, I certainly never heard the further you walk, the greater your efficiency.
“It’s the one to one patient care that’s most effective, rather walking a long distance. And there are much more effective ways of measuring patient care than this.
“As long as nurses are walking long distances they are not treating patients and that has to be the priority.”
She added: “I think that policy should be more focused on cleanliness and patients – rather than hair-brained schemes like this.”
But NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde’s director of nursing, Rory Farrelly, insisted the measure would improve efficiency in hospitals.
He said: “By looking at our ward environment and how it affects the way we work, we will be able to identify simple and effective ways of reducing wasted time.
“A simple example is the location of the linen cupboard. Staff will look at the amount of time they spend walking to and from that cupboard to change patients’ bedding.”
But Matt McLaughlin, regional organiser at Unison, slammed the scheme, saying that red tape was hindering nurses’ work.
He said: “Nobody has spoken to us about this – and it’s the kind thing that I would expect someone to run by me.
“I am a bit annoyed that I’m finding out about this latest plan from the media.
“No-one wants to see inefficiency in public services – but anyone who thinks that this is a good way to measuring efficiency needs their head examined.
“The problem is that the bureaucrats who run these systems are too far away from the frontline.
“Our members are professional people often dealing with very difficult groups of people.
“The experts are the staff themselves – and they don’t need another hospital target to do their jobs.”