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Sunday 27th May 2018

Staff shortages risk patients' health

19th October 2009

A survey by the Royal College of Nurses has shown that 40% of nurses think staff shortages affect the quality of patient care "at least once a week".


The views of 9,000 nursing staff have been recorded by the RCN as part of its Annual Employment Survey.

The RCN has released a manifesto which calls for NHS managers to ensure they have the right number of staff working in order to make certain patients are safe.

The survey also showed that 55% of nurses were "too busy" to give patients the standard of care that they wanted to. 67% said that they were given too much to do at work.

Dr Peter Carter, head of the RCN, said nurses were worried they were providing only a basic level of care, but could not offer a more comprehensive range of care to their patients.

He said: "Nurses and healthcare assistants feel up against it, worn down and exhausted by the pressure to make efficiencies and frustrated by being prevented from delivering the quality of care they want to be providing." 

The RCN's Labour Market Review said around 200,000 nurses will retire over the next decade, leading to a decrease in staff levels.

Dr Carter said: "The nursing workforce has grown in recent years but only just enough to keep up with rising demands on healthcare. We expect the next few years will be the most challenging for staff levels in decades."

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