This site is intended for health professionals only

Depression is contagious, ‘stupid’ plans for nursing, and why senior NHS staff are being protected from the pay freeze

Nurses’ leaders have branded recent reforms proposed for their profession in light of the Francis report as ‘stupid’ on the BBC.

The Royal College of Nursing said ministers had missed an opportunity to improve patient care after the Stafford Hospital scandal public inquiry.

The strongest criticism was given to the plan to get trainee nurses to work for a year as healthcare assistants.

RCN general secretary Peter Carter said: ‘I believe it is a really stupid idea that will not benefit patients.’

It comes as a survey by The Daily Telegraph has found that more than 7,800 NHS staff were paid over £100,000 last year, with a third of them earning more than David Cameron’s £142,500 salary.

The figures indicate that NHS managers and consultants have been protected from the Government’s £20bn cost-cutting programme, with the number earning six-figure salaries increasing slightly in the past three years. Their total pay also rose over the same period, amounting to almost £1bn last year.

A Department of Health spokesman said: ‘Many of these staff are senior consultants and their pay reflects responsibilities and clinical skills.’

But if the size of managerial pay packets tend to rile you, spare a thought for those close to you before letting it affect your mood, as The Daily Mail reports that depression and the emotions associated with it can be contagious.

Researchers have found that the gloomy mindset of students vulnerable to depression, that were studied for the study, can be catching, making their friends more likely to suffer the condition six months later.

Dr Gerald Haeffel of Indiana’s University of Notre Dame,said: ‘Our study demonstrates that cognitive vulnerability has the potential to wax and wane over time depending on the social context.’