Pushing the call button on unsafe staffing: who will come to our aid?

The April 2016 report on UNISON’s staff survey which was carried on a normal day in February, showed once again that even though staff work through their breaks and stay beyond the end of their shift, there is not enough time to deliver the care they feel their patients need.

Some of the key findings:

  • 89.2% of respondents support nationally set mandatory minimum nurse-to-patient ratios.
  • 69.7% of respondents reported not having an adequate amount of time with each patient.
  • 74.6% of respondents said that because they did not have enough time, they were unable to comfort or talk to patients.
  • 63.3% of respondents felt there were not adequate staff numbers to deliver safe, dignified, compassionate care.
  • 55.6% were caring for eight or more patients which is deeply concerning given the research that indicates that this is the point at which harm is occurring, and this percentage went up significantly (70.6%) when staff were working on night shifts.
  • Three years on from the Francis recommendations, nearly half of respondents (47.3%) reported their organisations were at risk of a serious care failing developing and 15.3% of respondents indicated that care failings similar to Mid Staffs were happening in isolated parts of, or across, their organisation.
  • Suppressed NICE safe staffing guidance for hospital emergency departments called for the NHS to implement minimum registered nurse ratios. The majority of respondents reported that their organisation did not meet the minimum nurse-to-patient ratios for hospital emergency departments recommended under this suppressed guidance.

Full report at UNISON