No Improvement To Safe Staffing Levels For Nurses

Two-Thirds Of Nurses Experiencing No Increase To Staffing Levels Following Serious Incidents


Almost two-thirds of nursing staff who have experienced a "red flag" event on an adult inpatient ward have failed to see staffing numbers increased to deal with the situation, a major survey NHS survey has revealed.

A "red flag" incident, such as an instance of less than two registered nurses being present on a ward, or a 30 minute delay in providing pain relief, should prompt an immediate allocation of additional nurses.

However, a Unison survey of 5,100 staff found that 62% of respondents who had experienced such an event said that no extra nurses had been brought onto the ward, and 61% said that the safe staffing levels introduced last July have made no difference to staffing levels.

Unison's report on the survey said: "Seven months on from its introduction, this is deeply worrying.

"If staff raise red-flag events on staffing levels and their concerns are not acted upon, they may be unlikely to escalate them in the future because they could have no trust or confidence in the process."

Expert Opinion
“It is concerning that staffing levels in the NHS continue to be a problem and affect patient care. It is essential that this is carefully considered and reviewed to ensure that they always meet an adequate level.

“Patients put their faith in medical professionals and trust that there are sufficient resources at the hospital to treat them and that careless mistakes will not be made due to increasing pressure on the facilities.

“We see recurring cases where problems have emerged as a result of hospitals not being able to cope with the level of demand due to staff shortages and substandard care and the problems of the past simply cannot be allowed to be repeated.”
Julie Lewis, Partner