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Oooh, Matron - you can't say that!

PUBLISHED: 13:32 18 July 2001 | UPDATED: 10:21 03 March 2010

MODERN day matrons are soon to return to the wards of Ipswich Hospital, but nurses hate the name because of its 'Carry On' connotations.

MODERN day matrons are soon to return to the wards of Ipswich Hospital – but nurses hate the name because of its 'Carry On' connotations.

Memories of buxom, bossy Hattie Jaques ruling the wards in Carry on Doctor, have left the nurses of today reluctant to aspire to new Matron posts, which will be introduced across the country by April 2002.

The matrons will probably be paid more than senior lead nurses, and will have the authority to monitor standards and intervene to make sure shortfalls are sorted out quickly.

The will be strong leaders with a visible presence on the wards, committed to providing the best care for patients.

But the name has not met with favour at Ipswich Hospital, where head of nursing Clare Barlow told directors that: "Overwhelmingly, the senior nurses, ward sisters/charge nurses do not like the title 'matron' and would prefer to use: senior lead nurse (matron) Directorate."

Chairman Peter Bye said: "To me, as an outsider, the term matron gives all the wrong messages and very few of the right ones about the modern health service.

"It is a hierarchical, distant, inaccessible role, and I know I am going by the Carry on Matron films but it also doesn't reflect the fact that we will have male nurses in the role too.

"I just hope the modern matron is a political slogan which fades away, as I don't see it being used in any title within this trust."

Non executive director John Mowles said it was important patients knew who was in charge, and said titles like charge nurse, lead nurse, senior lead nurse could be confusing, and added: "Matron does help people understand who it is."

Mr Bye added: "If people decide matron is the neatest way to describe this paramount role, then so be it."

Director of finance and performance Chris Dooley said: "The words written about this role are very nice but it will bring an inevitable increase in cost, and we will need to be very careful about what we do."

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