The Department of Health (DoH) has called for the end of manual handling of patients to prevent risks of injury from lifting.
About 5,000 nurses are currently being treated for back pain as a result of an increase in patients’ weights and the number of patients under nurse care, according to the British Chiropractic Association (BCA).
Dr Matthew Bennett, a member of the BCA, said: “We probably see one or two nurses a week that are new clients but there are dozens on each practice list. There are thousands of nurses with work-related back pain and I think this could increase in the future.”
He added: “The weight of patients is a contributory factor to back pain. It’s not just a weight issue, it’s a fitness issue. People are unable to turn themselves over easily.”
A DoH spokesperson said: “No-one working in a hospital, nursing home, or community setting should need to put their safety at risk when lifting patients manually. Hoists, sliding aids and other specialised equipment mean staff should no longer have to risk injury while doing their job.
“Manual handling of patients should only continue if it does not involve a risk of injury from lifting most or all of a patient’s weight.”