20 February 2019

"Bring back the nursing bursary!"

  • In the week Janet Davies, RCN Chief Executive, coined the removal of the nursing bursary a ‘disaster’, it was reported that nursing applications have decreased by 13,000 since 2016, the last year students received the bursary. 

    In response, on Friday 15th February, we reached out to our Facebook followers and asked: ‘What do you think would encourage more people into the profession?’ 

    The post was inundated with responses.

    Here is what our Facebook followers had to say about the student bursaries being forfeited...

    Kate Hayward: “The bursary being returned. Being a student nurse is not the same as being an 'ordinary' student and that bursary is often the only way student nurses manage financially.”

    Sophie Martin: “I think it’s shocking they got rid of the bursary. I graduate this year and if it wasn’t for the bursary I definitely would not have managed financially with a two-year-old who I had mid-way into the course. this was also on top of working 18hrs a week even when on placement. So placement weeks your talking 50hr weeks ... It’s not easy in the slightest.”

    Lyndzey Tomlin: “Allowing NVQ’s to count towards UCAS would be a mighty fine start! Most people wanting to go into nursing are the people working in healthcare already.”

    Esther Portlock: “Bring back the bursary. Student nurses must clock up hours of unpaid shifts.” 

    Melissa Louise: “I study in Wales so I receive the bursary. I still have to work as well so I can’t imagine how people manage without. Don’t understand why they would remove it when students have to work 2300 hours over three years for free.”

    Dot Griffiths: “The only way my daughter got her nursing degree was because I worked and paid her rent and her car that facilitated her being able to do her 2300 free hours for the NHS.”

    Hannah Campbell: “Bring back the bursary!”

    Sarah Hitchcox: “Student nurses should have the bursary back and where have all the nursing colleges and accommodation gone?”

    Brian Webster: “Better pay once qualified.”

    Louise Helyer-Jackson: “The bursary... Enough said.”

    Tracey Sleeman: “Go back to paying the bursary!”

    Newcross Healthcare Assistant, Ricky Baker, reached out and told us how he and his peers are feeling the pressure as a result of losing the bursary. 

    “I love being a student nurse, I have met so many amazing people working within the NHS, all passionate about what they do. However, with the axe of the NHS Bursary, student nurses now face many barriers that affect the overall learning experience. 

    “To meet the progression outcomes throughout our training, student nurses are frequently required to demonstrate progress towards working independently. As such, we regularly do tasks for many of the nurses on the ward such as observations, when deemed competent by our mentor to carry out these tasks independently. Whilst carrying out such tasks is a great learning opportunity, helping to develop our skills and understanding, it could be interpreted by many to be ‘free labour’. 

    “The NMC requires student nurses to have clinical experience in the form of placements for 37.5 hours a week. In addition to this, many student nurses, like myself work part time to be able to pay the costs of travel to and from placement, not forgetting the extortionate parking charges when we get there. This leaves little money left from our part-time jobs to pay for housing, bills, let alone food on the table. 

    “There is much focus within the NHS around health promotion, but with being on placement, working part-time and evidencing the work we do around this, the health and wellbeing of student nurses is becoming increasingly compromised. Therefore, health promotion for student nurses needs to be addressed as a matter of priority, recognising the stresses of workload and financial worries student nurses now currently face, before it has a negative impact on our mental health.”

    Newcross Healthcare is committed to supporting all student nurses in its employment. All healthcare staff choose their own shifts by allocating their availability via the HealthForceGo® app.  

    If you are a student looking to 'earn while you learn', and feel as though you would benefit from 'same day pay', choosing your own shifts and having access to training, feel free to apply today. 

    Thank you to everyone who responded in this week's Facebook #NXdebate.  

08 February 2019

50% of UK adults unaware of dementia risk factors - are you?

  • According to Alzheimer's Research UK, fifty per cent of UK adults are unable to identify key risk factors for dementia. The charity surveyed 2,361 people and found that only 1% were able to name the seven known risk or protective factors for dementia. 

    The six risk factors are:

    1.) Excessive drinking 

    2.) Genetics 

    3.) Smoking 

    4.) High blood pressure 

    5.) Depression 

    6.) Diabetes 

    Physical exercise is a protective factor against the disease.

    Hilary Evans, chief executive of Alzheimer's Research UK, said that despite growing dementia awareness, there is still work to be done in terms of educating the wider community.

    "It is a sad truth that more people are affected by dementia than ever before and half of us now know someone with the condition. Yet despite growing dementia awareness, we must work harder to improve understanding of the diseases that cause it."

    Half of the people (52%) who took part in the Dementia Attitudes Monitor know someone who has been diagnosed as having a form of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease. However, only half recognised that dementia is a cause of death, and they found that a fifth incorrectly believe it is an inevitable part of getting older. 

    Dementia is an umbrella term for a set of symptoms that affect cognitive function, such as memory loss, confusion and personality change, which gradually worsen over time.

    Although a third of cases of dementia are thought to be influenced by factors within our control, only 34% of people surveyed believe it is possible to reduce the risk of dementia, compared with 77% for heart disease and 81% for diabetes.

    For more dementia-related content, click here. 


    Dementia-Attitudes Monitor 


07 February 2019

Nursing degree applications drop 30% since bursary removed

  • Figures released by UCAS show the number of people applying to study nursing in England has fallen by more than 13,000 since 2016, the last year students received the bursary. 

    Applications to study nursing in England have fallen for the second year running, dropping by a third since the Government removed bursaries requiring nurses and midwives to pay £9,000 a year in fees.

    With 40,000 nursing vacancies in England, the Royal College of Nursing has said the fall in student numbers further jeopardises the future supply of nurses and puts safe patient care at risk. 

    RCN Acting Chief Executive Dame Donna Kinnair said: “These figures show the scale of the workforce challenge ahead of us, and failure to act now risks patient care for a generation. The Long Term Plan deserves to succeed, but it cannot do so without the nurses to deliver it.

    With applicant numbers showing no sign of recovering since the removal of student funding, health care services will ultimately have even fewer nurses to treat us in our hospitals, homes, schools and clinics.” 

    Today’s figures show we all need to work together to address the workforce crisis, not only through investment in nurse education in England but through a workforce strategy that reflects the demands of the population in each country. This needs to be underpinned by legislation that guarantees the right number of nurses and nursing support staff to provide safe and effective care.

    The RCN’s Fund Our Future campaign calls on the Government to invest at least £1bn per year in nursing higher education to help stop the decline in student nurse numbers and recruit the nursing staff needed to keep patients safe.

    Newcross CEO Stephen Pattrick spoke of his concern surrounding declining university applications in an article published in 2017, in which he asserted:

    "I flagged our concerns about the likely impact of Department of Health reforms in funding for nursing degrees. Withdrawing bursaries for student nurses would, I explained, probably result in fewer people applying for nursing degree courses.

    "The Department of Health refuted this and reiterated their official view that applications could actually increase. The evidence we now have suggests that they were wrong. And none of us in the healthcare sector are surprised."

    If you're studying nursing and are looking to acquire hands-on experience during your studies, we are hiring student nurses as healthcare assistants. Apply now! 

07 February 2019

How to promote dignity in care settings

  • In the healthcare sector, the word 'dignity' is one that regularly appears in job adverts, books and legislation, but what do we mean by the word 'dignity'? Dignity in care means the kind of care, in any setting, which supports and promotes, and does not undermine, a person's self- respect. 

    There are several things nurses, carers and other health professionals can do to uphold dignity - and they're usually small and seemingly inconsequential things. However, to a person who has resigned the majority of their independence to a stranger, they are everything. 

    There are 8 factors related to dignity identified by the Social Care Institute for Excellence:

    • Choice and control

    Think of the choices you make as you get ready in the morning for work: what exact time you'd like to wake up, what you'll wear, when you'll leave the house. For most of us, dressing ourselves is a very personal and private activity.  Personal taste and style have a huge part to play in our identities as individuals. Allowing someone in your care to choose their own clothes is one way of promoting dignity. 

    • Communication

    Speaking to people respectfully and listening to what they have to say; ensuring clear dialogue between workers and services.

    Ensure you're addressing the person in your care by their preferred name. This may not be their full name and might be a nickname, for example.

    • Eating

    Is food easy to eat? Does it look appealing? Does the person eating have the right amount of privacy they need? These are the questions you need to answer when a service user is eating. Everyone has a different relationship with food and this needs to be taken into account. 

    • Pain management

    Pain levels vary from person-to-person. Studies indicate that older people are more likely to experience pain but less likely to complain or request medication.  Restlessness, social isolation, and avoidance are just a few examples of symptoms associated with pain. 

    • Personal hygiene

    A person’s appearance is integral to their self-respect and older people need to receive appropriate levels of support to maintain the standards they are used to. 

    Personal hygiene includes: 

    • Washing, bathing, showering

    • Shaving

    • Oral hygiene and denture care

    • Haircare

    • Body and facial hair removal

    • Nail care, including chiropody and podiatry

    • Using the toilet and continence needs

    • Dressing and undressing

    • Laundry

    • Practical assistance

    - Having a clean home is particularly important to older women in terms of maintaining their dignity and self-respect (Godfrey et al., 2000).

    - A little bit of help can make a big difference. This includes low-level, flexible services such as help with cleaning, ironing, garden maintenance, foot care and assistance with caring for pets (JRF, 2005).

    - People receiving practical help such as ‘small housing repairs, gardening, limited assistive technology or shopping’ report significant improvements in quality of life (Henwood and Hudson, 2008).

    • Privacy

    In older age, slowing down and deteriorating health are two factors that some elderly people find difficult to come to terms with.  If a person has a reasonable desire for privacy, there is no need to ignore that person's wishes without a compelling reason to do so.

    • Social inclusion

    Social inclusion is intertwined with quality of life and independence. Opportunities to participate, and make a positive contribution to community and society, are integral to autonomy and therefore dignity. Talking to and encouraging service users to socialise 

    Are you a nurse or a carer? How do you promote dignity in care? 

     Leave a comment or tweet us. 


    Social Care Insitute for Excellence 



05 February 2019

Love and trust in the care profession

  • Love and trust are two cornerstones of the care industry. Trust is integral to the work we do. Without trust, we couldn't positively impact the lives of thousands of people all over the UK each year.  

    Complex Care Manager, Becci Buck and Team Leader, Rowena Mann explain to us how love and trust play a part in both their careers with Newcross.

    Why do clients trust us?

    Becci: "In Complex, they know our staff aren't brand new to care. We also have the luxury of having a nurse. When someone has high-end clinical needs we are able to provide staff who are confident with what they're doing with the right experience." 

    Rowena: "I would say something my clients really like is that we're a 24-hour company. There are Central Support and Clinical Governance which means that during out-of-hours they don't have to rely solely on the branch, there is extra help should they need it."

    What do we do that helps us to build and maintain positive client relationships?

    Rowena: "Visits. Going to see them face to face. Ensuring their feedback is recognised and then dealt with properly.  If they want the same staff member back, we respect that and if they don't then you deal with it and let them know the outcome of that conversation instead of brushing it off. You do something about it."

    Becci: "Honesty for me is a big one. Like Ro says, it's respecting those decisions. For us, if we can't fully staff a package of care, I am very honest and I tell them upfront. We tell them what it is that we can do, and then get it done. They love that."

    Rowena: "Take our USPs - the ten-minute updates - the fact they're allowed to give feedback n on the new app. They are really involved in giving feedback."

    Why do you love working for Newcross? 

    Becci: "It's very team orientated. For me personally, you know you have someone you can go to for support. It's the only company I have ever worked for where there's active engagement from senior management and directors. I've never had that in a company before."

    Rowena: "For me, it's networking between each branch and department. Take Bristol, we have Marketing, Recruitment,  Central Support and Clinical Governance. I also speak to people in Scotland and Head Office. It's like talking to a friend in each department - even if you haven't met them yet.  Everyone has that same sense of team spirit."

    What brings people to work in care?

    Becci: "They have to be a caring person! They care. It's not a job. As corny as it is, you have to be a caring person to succeed. Anyone can sit on a supermarket checkout. Not everyone can care."

    Rowena: I think with the way the world is going, flexibility is massive. Working in care allows people to work and enjoy their personal life. 

    What do you love about your own role?

    Becci: "I love managing people - and enabling people to live in their own home on the complex side. Whereas ten years ago they would have had to live in a hospital or nursing home for the rest of their lives."

    Rowena: "For me, it's being able to meet so many people, listening to their different stories and then making what we do work for them. I also love receiving feedback for our staff and be able to give it to them as it makes it worthwhile for them."

    Thanks to Becci and Rowena for talking to us. 

    Do you work for Newcross? How do love and trust affect your roles? Let us know in the comments section! 

05 February 2019

The importance of flexibility in care

  • Today, the BBC reported that more than 600 people a day leave their jobs because of the pressure that being an unpaid carer brings.

    The demand that comes with looking after an elderly, ill or disabled relative has made almost half a million people quit their jobs in the UK in the past two years. 

    "I love working for Newcross, because number one, it gives me the flexibility to work around my family life and gives me the perfect work/life balance."

    Jessica Davies, HCA


    An estimate has indicated that almost five million people are trying to balance looking after relatives with working, up from about three million in 2011.

    This increase is thanks to an ageing population, but the report says not enough employers are offering flexibility over working hours or taking leave. 

    Carers UK is calling for employment rights to formally recognise the needs of carers.

    At Newcross Healthcare, we understand the scale of responsibility that comes with being a carer - whether you're caring in a paid or unpaid capacity. We stand with Carers UK and encourage employers to allow unpaid carers scope to make mutually beneficial working arrangements.

    Newcross nurses and carers enjoy having control over when and where they work. Healthcare staff build their own rotas, working full or part time hours to suit their schedules, and benefit from the security of a permanent job with guaranteed minimum hours and a local line manager. 

    If you're a nurse or carer looking for flexible work, browse current vacancies, here. 

04 February 2019

Children's Mental Health Week: Should influencer ads for 'diet aids' be banned on social media?

  • After over-indulging during the festive period, you might have decided to adopt healthier habits in the new year - and you aren't alone. An estimated 26 million people embarked on a health kick trying to lose weight in January 2019. 

    If you're an avid social media user, you might have noticed an influx in celebrities and 'Instagram influencers' endorsing various weight loss products. From 'slim soups' and 'appetite suppressing lollipops', to 'tummy teas', the platform is rife with reality stars and models claiming to have reaped the benefits of what are in fact largely laxative-inducing food and drink items. 

    Professor Stephen Powis, NHS medical director, argues these products have a damaging effect on the physical and mental health of young people who may be accessing these adverts on social media website on their mobile phones. 

    He is also urging influential celebrities to act "responsibly".

    Instagram's own guidelines state that users need to be at least 13 years old before creating an account, prompting the question: Is this too young an age to be exposed to content promoting quick-fix weight loss methods? 

    Prof Powis said: "If a product sounds like it is too good to be true, then it probably is.

    "The risks of quick-fix weight loss outweigh the benefits, and advertising these products without a health warning is damaging.

    "Highly influential celebrities are letting down the very people who look up to them, by peddling products which are at best ineffective and at worst harmful.

    "Social media companies have a duty to stamp out the practice of individuals and companies using their platform to target young people with products known to risk ill health," he said.

    Research from the National Citizens Service shows that at least one in four young people say that their appearance was the most important thing to them, with over half of girls feeling the pressure to be thinner, and a third of boys thinking they should be more muscular.

    "Taking any substance which impacts the body, without proper medical advice and support, is a risk," said Prof Powis.

    "Cosmetic treatments and get-thin-quick products which are readily and increasingly available and promoted can be harmful if not used correctly."

    What do you think? Should adverts for 'diet aids' be banned on social media? Let us know in the comments section. 

04 February 2019

World Cancer Day: 7 early warning signs

  • World Cancer Day is an international day marked on 4th February to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment. World Cancer Day was founded by the Union for International Cancer Control.

    Spotting cancer at an early stage saves lives. Understanding what's normal for your body means you're more likely to notice any unusual changes.

    While the following symptoms are associated with several health issues and might not present any reason for concern, they are also seven early cancer warning signs you should keep an eye out for if they persist...

    1.) Changes in bowel or bladder habits

    A bowel disease may cause the following symptoms:

    • Blood in the stool

    • Mucous or purulent secretions

    • Spontaneous defecation

    2.) A sore that does not heal

    Common signs of basal cell cancers are a sore, lump, or patch of skin that itches, bleeds or develops a scab and that takes a few weeks to heal.

    3.) Unusual bleeding or discharge

    Unusual bleeding can happen in early or advanced cancer. Coughing up blood may be a sign of lung cancer. Blood in the stool could be a sign of colon or rectal cancer. Cancer of the cervix or the endometrium can cause abnormal vaginal bleeding.

    4.) Thickening or lump in the breast or any other part of the body

    Not all lumps indicate cancer, but if you have a lump and you're not sure about it, play it safe and get it checked out by your GP.

    5.) Indigestion or difficulty swallowing

    Indigestion can sometimes be a symptom of pancreatic cancer. Indigestion causes a painful, burning feeling in your chest, and can leave a bitter, unpleasant taste in your mouth.

    6.) Obvious change in a wart or mole

    Skin cancer is one of the easiest cancers to detect early, due to the presence of visible skin changes. If you discover a wart, mole, freckle or skin tag that seems to be changing colour, shape or size, speak to a professional right away.

    7.) Persistent nagging cough or hoarseness

    A long-lasting soreness of the throat may be a symptom of laryngeal cancer which is also associated with the following:

    • Difficulty breathing and swallowing

    • A feeling of a lump in the throat appears with the growth of the neoplasm

    • Hoarseness of speech proceeding.

    Health experts have suggested that more than 40% of cancer cases could be prevented by undertaking certain lifestyle changes such as not smoking, keeping a healthy body weight, cutting back on alcohol, eating a balanced diet, keeping active, avoiding certain infections (like HPV), avoidance of radiation and staying safe in the sun.

    Share this article with the hashtags #SpreadCancerAwareness and #WorldCancerDay.




    Cancer Research 



31 January 2019

Caring for older residents during cold weather

  • Every care home will have its own policy on cold weather. However, it's important to use your initiative. An important element of this is ensuring that you are able to recognise where there may be a heating issue and how to act on it swiftly and appropriately. 

    During cold weather, all care staff should check on residents to ensure they are warm enough in both daytime and the evening. 

    Residents should be encouraged to wrap up in warm clothing and to have plenty of hot food and drinks. Staff should monitor room temperatures and ensure the care home is kept warm, particularly communal living rooms and bedrooms.

    The Cold Weather Plan recommends indoor temperatures of at least 18°C (65°F) in winter. It states that this threshold is particularly important for over 65s or those with pre-existing medical conditions, and having temperatures slightly above this threshold for these people may be beneficial for health. It also recommends maintaining these temperatures overnight for at-risk people.

    Residents should be advised to stay inside during the coldest weather to avoid slips and falls, and only make trips outside if they are essential. If they go outside they should be encouraged to wear appropriate warm clothing.

     In Public Health England's plan, Chief Medical Officer, Professor Sally Davies, said:

    "Cold-related deaths represent the biggest weather-related source of mortality. Although temperatures are gradually rising with climate change, cold weather deaths are still expected to be high by 2050, due to the ageing and increasing population. So we are going to need the guidance in these pages to protect the public from the effects of cold for many years to come."

    The government's Cold Weather Plan can be located here. 

    For more Insights, click here. 

30 January 2019

5 Courses you can take to up-skill with Newcross

  • Whether you're starting out in your career, or if you've worked in the profession for years, there is always room for improvement. It is for this reason that we actively encourage our healthcare team to take advantage of all the fantastic clinical training courses we offer.  

    With us, you'll earn training credits while you work. Five training credits are accrued per hour worked with our clients. 

    Did you know? Training credits never expire. 

    If you're unsure as to where to start, here are five suggestions for you, along with some essential information to get the ball rolling...

    1.) End of Life Care

    Duration: 3 hours

    Cost: £30.00 or 3000 Newcross training credits

    Course content:

    • Understand the key principles of palliative care and end of life care
    • Understand good practice within the process of advanced care planning
    • Understand the purpose of holistic assessment in end of life care to identify symptoms
    • Understand how to manage symptoms in end of life
    • Understand the principles of good communication in end of life care
    • Understand the importance of family support and dealing with own feelings


    2.) Epilepsy Awareness

    Duration: 3 hours

    Cost: £30.00 or 3000 Newcross training credits

    Course content:

    • Demonstrate an awareness of what Epilepsy is and recognise different seizure types
    • Be able to support patients experiencing seizures, ensuring their safety and dignity
    • Demonstrate an awareness of the importance of observing and recording seizure activity
    • Recognise possible trigger factors
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the Emergency Management Plan
    • Be able to demonstrate prolonged and serial seizures and respond appropriately
    • Be able to demonstrate through simulation the procedure for administering Buccal Midazolam


    3.) Safeguarding Adults 

    Duration: 3 hours

    Cost: £30.00 or 3000 Newcross training credits

    This course is designed for all staff working in caring roles with adults.  This course will give the healthcare worker an understanding of safeguarding. Ensuring they know the categories of abuse, signs and symptoms along with legislation, reporting procedures and the role of CQC/Ofsted.


    4.) Peg Training – Theory Based

    Duration: 3 hours

    Cost: £30.00 or 3000 Newcross training credits

    Course content:

    • To gain an understanding of dysphagia and why gastrostomies are sometimes required
    • Gain an understanding of P.E.G. feeding and administering medication through a PEG
    • Gain an understanding of local policy and procedure in relation to P.E.G. feeding and gastrostomy care
    • Be able to identify the range of equipment available and how it is used effectively
    • Gain an understanding of how to identify problems, including aspiration, and how to manage them
    • Identify when a medical referral is required


    5.) Speech, Signs and Symbols

    Duration: 3 hours

    Cost: £30.00 or 3000 Newcross training credits

    For many people we support, they experience the frustration of being unable to communicate meaningfully or effectively, Speech Signs & Symbols really can help. This course will help take away that frustration and enables individuals to connect with other people and the world around them. This opens up all kinds of possibilities.

    This course uses Makaton - a language programme using signs and symbols to help people to communicate. It is designed to support spoken language and the signs and symbols are used with speech, in spoken word order.


    If you are looking to progress in your role and expand your knowledge, speak to your branch manager about upcoming training opportunities in your area.