Posted on April 27, 2016

Union survey warns of risk to patient care

A nursing survey carried out by UNISON has found that nurses believe that appropriate levels of care cannot be delivered with the current staffing levels. The survey has been entitled 'Pushing the Call Button on Unsafe Staffing: Who Will Come to our Aid?' and shows that 63% of those who took part believe that safe and compassionate care is impossible with the current number of nurses on the wards. The previous survey on the subject showed that just 45% of nurses believed that this was the case. The nurses believe that there are too many patients and not enough nurses to care for them. 56% of nurses have stated that at any one time, they have eight patients or more to care for. For the survey in 2015, this figure was 42%. For those who work on evening shifts, the figure was 71%. They have said that this means that they do not have enough time to comfort or talk to patients. UNISON Head of Health Christina McAnea said that even when staff miss breaks or work overtime, they do not have the time required. At the present time, there is a vacancy level of 9% for nursing positions in the NHS across all departments, including A&E and general wards. More than 60% of nurses say that they are unable to take their breaks, and more than 40% are working more than the set hours, with just 10% being paid for the extra time. There is also criticism of the Government's cap on nursing agency spending as this has also affected staffing levels.
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