NHS Hospital wards left with ‘dangerously low levels of nurses’

Hospitals are running wards with a dangerously low number of nurses and are using healthcare workers as “stand-ins”, according to a new investigation.

Analysis of two years’ worth of official data shows almost every acute hospital in England is failing to meet its own standard on how many nurses it should have on wards.

Nurses described “desperately unsafe” numbers of registered nurses, while others said patients are being put at risk.

The problem appears to have got worse since the Government introduced a cap on how much hospitals are allowed to spend on agency staff.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt ordered NHS trusts to publish monthly data on staffing levels as part of the Government response to the mid-Staffordshire scandal, in which hundreds of patients died as a result of poor care.

But analysis by the Health Service Journal (HSJ), covering data from 2014-15 to 2016-17, shows 96 per cent of acute hospitals (214) reporting figures failed to meet their own planned level for registered nurses.

Full story in The Independent 19 January 2017