NHS staff shortages are compromising patient care

New report from the Royal College of Nursing calls for urgent review of Nurse staffing levels to ensure patient safety this winter. 

rcn

Image source: http://www.rcn.org.uk

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has today published a report, Safe and Effective Staffing: Nursing Against the Odds which shows the results of a recent staff survey. The survey, carried out in May 2017  reveals more than half (55%) say shifts did not have the level of nurses planned, and that shortages were compromising patient care (53% ).

Nursing staff in all four UK countries were asked about staffing levels on their most recent shift and the quality of care provided. More than a third (36%) report having to leave elements of patient care undone due to a lack of time, while two thirds (65%) work an unpaid extra hour on average.

Seven in 10 nurses (71%) in England said their last daytime shift exceeded NICE guidelines, which states that more than eight patients to one nurse should act as a ‘red flag’. A quarter (26%) reported shifts with 14 or more patients per nurse.

The respondents also reported that:

  • patients are no longer afforded enough dignity, even dying alone;
  • colleagues have burned out and have become sick themselves, unable to come to work;
  • staff leave work “sobbing” at the impact of shortages on patient care;
  • many question their future in nursing and contemplate leaving the profession;
  • they struggle to give their children and families enough support after shifts that can exceed 12 hours.

Full report: Safe and Effective Staffing: Nursing Against the Odds

Royal College of Nursing: Urgent action needed to tackle staffing crisis

Related:

Advertisements

The Recruitment, Retention And Return Of Nurses To General Practice Nursing In England

This report, authored by Ipsos MORI, outlines the findings of qualitative research into the drivers and barriers to entry into general practice nursing (GPN) | NHS England

NHS Framework Documant 2008

It finds that the general perception is that general practice is more suitable for older or more experienced nurses. As student placements in general practice are rare, there is a lack of opportunity for students to develop an understanding of the GPN role. The research also highlights the need for greater support for GPNs and the lack of standardisation in pay for GPN roles.

New figures show an increase in numbers of nurses and midwives leaving the professions

New figures show an increase in the number of nurses and midwives leaving our register while at the same time, numbers joining have slowed down. This has resulted in an overall reduction in the numbers of nurses and midwives registered to work in the UK | NMC

Letter of resignation

Image source: Danni Atherton – Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Recently public attention has focused on the reducing number of EU nurses and midwives joining our register. But today’s figures show that it is mainly UK nurses and midwives who are leaving the register, resulting in the overall downward trend.

For the first time in recent history the numbers leaving are now outstripping the numbers joining with this trend most pronounced for UK nurses and midwives who make up around 85 per cent of the register. Between 2016 and 2017, 45 per cent more UK registrants left the register than joined it for the first time.

Data also seems to show that more nurses and midwives are leaving the register before retirement age with a noticeable increase in those aged under 40 leaving.

Earlier this month we conducted a survey of more than 4,500 nurses and midwives who left the register over the previous 12 months. Excluding retirement, the top reasons given included working conditions, (including issues such as staffing levels), a change in personal circumstances (such as ill health or caring responsibilities) and a disillusionment with the quality of care provided to patients

Securing a sustainable NHS workforce for the future

A major new programme to drive better staff retention in trusts across England has been launched by NHS Improvement (NHSI).

staff2

With recruitment and retention adding to the huge amount of pressure already facing trusts in England, the regulator hopes the project will reduce the rates of people leaving the NHS workforce by 2020.

Led by NHSI, the programme will support trust leads and staff by providing a series of masterclasses for directors of nursing and HR to discuss ways to reduce staff leaving trusts. The organisation will also work alongside NHS Employers and look into how the current national retention programme can be built on and improved.

Specific, targeted support will also be made available for mental health providers to improve retention rates of staff groups, and a tool designed to help trusts understand why staff leave will be rolled out. A series of guidance through webinars will also be implemented to improve retention rates.

Full details via NHS Improvement

Related article: NHSI to tackle staff retention challenges with new programme | National Health Executive

Government ‘reneging on promise to fund 10,000 extra nursing places’ | via @guardiannews

Scrapping nursing bursaries was supposed to expand training places – but that pledge has been quietly dropped, universities say | The Guardian

chairs-1814602_960_720.jpg

Universities are warning that the government is quietly reneging on its promise to provide 10,000 new nursing degree places, intended to relieve pressure on the NHS.

Student nurses must spend 50% of their degree working under supervision, usually in a hospital. But universities have told Education Guardian that not a single extra nursing training place has been funded or allocated for the future. It would cost £15m over five years to fund training placements for 10,000 new nurses, according to the Council of Deans of Health, the body that represents university faculties of nursing.

Applications to study nursing in the new 2017-18 academic year have slumped by 23% compared with last year, after the abolition of bursaries. The government said last year it would free up £800m and pay for an extra 10,000 places by ending bursaries and shifting student nurses to the standard system of £9,000-a-year tuition fees supported by loans. Angry academics now say this was a hollow promise.

Read the full news story here

Safe And Effective Staffing: The Real Picture

This report paints a picture of an NHS struggling without the nursing staff it knows it needs| Royal College of Nursing 

safe staffing

Image source: RCN

This report calls for the rest of the UK to follow the example of Wales and enshrine safe staffing levels in law following analysis which shows that there is approximately 40,000 unfilled nurse posts in England with a further 12,000 health care support worker vacancies. The report finds that care providers are increasingly hiring fewer registered nursing staff and that four in five NHS nursing directors have reported concerns that their hospital relies on the goodwill of staff to keep services running.

Women with incurable breast cancer receiving insufficient care

Three quarters (76%) of NHS trusts and health boards say that they do not have enough specialist nursing care for people with incurable secondary breast cancer | OnMedica

patient-1752834_960_720

The survey of 155 NHS trusts and health boards by Breast Cancer Care found that 42% of organisations surveyed do not provide specialist nursing care for people with incurable breast cancer, in stark comparison to the majority (95%) of people with primary breast cancer having a named clinical nurse specialist for support.

This is despite half (49%) of NHS trusts and health boards saying a main benefit of specialist nursing is reducing lengthy periods in hospital – often unnecessary if symptoms and treatment are managed well – saving the NHS money by freeing up beds.

Read the overview by OnMedica here