50,000 ‘target’ unlikely to ease nursing crisis

The RCN’s latest survey on workplace staffing levels in the NHS offers sobering evidence of how one of the Tories’ 2019 manifesto commitments – to employ 50,000 more nurses by 2024 – has done little, if anything, to lessen the impact of nursing shortages on patient safety, or to address the reasons behind those shortages.

Among the findings of the RCN survey of its 20,000 members were the following:

– 84 per cent said staffing levels on their last shift were not sufficient to meet all the needs of patients safely and effectively

– only 25 per cent of shifts had the full number of planned registered nurses

– just one in five respondents agreed they had enough time to provide the level of care they would like, with four in five judging that patient care was compromised due to not having enough registered nurses on the shift.

– more than 40 per cent of respondents said that due to lack of time they had to leave necessary care undone

– almost two thirds of respondents worked additional time and, of these, almost eight in ten were unpaid for these additional hours.

– most shifts reported in 2022 worked with between 50 per cent and 74 per cent of the planned registered nurses, which is below the 80 per cent threshold stipulated by the RCN’s nursing workforce standards.

Full story in The Lowdown, 14 June 2022