Nine in 10 hospital trusts below safe staffing level - report
Nine in 10 of England’s biggest NHS trusts are failing to employ enough nurses to ensure patients are safe, according to analysis.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) found of the 50 trusts they examined – which manage a total of around 150 hospital sites – the vast majority are not meeting their own safe staffing targets.
The research also found that more unregistered support staff were brought in to work shifts to cope with the shortage of nurses.
The data revealed more than half the largest hospitals (55%) brought more unregistered support staff onto shifts, while at night, two thirds (67%) of hospitals used unregistered support staff.
Janet Davies, the chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, is reported in the Sunday Times saying that patients are paying the “very highest price when the government encourages nursing on the cheap”.
She said: “Nurses have degrees and expert training and, to be blunt, the evidence shows patients stand a better chance of survival and recovery when there are more of them on the ward.”
According to the body there are 40,000 nurse vacancies, with the blame widely attributed to Brexit, low morale among staff, an end to bursaries for tuition fees, and the public sector pay freeze.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health said: “Just this month we announced an extra 10,000 places for nurses, midwives and allied health professionals by 2020, and there are over 12,500 more nurses on our wards since 2010.”