Too few staff means increased risk to patients, says UNISON

Safe staffing levels across the NHS have worsened significantly in the last year, according to UNISON’s UK-wide annual survey of nursing professionals published today (Monday), at the start of its annual health conference in Brighton.

The 2016 survey, conducted on Tuesday 9 February, found that almost two-thirds – 63%, up from 45% the previous year – of respondents said they felt there were inadequate numbers of staff on the wards to ensure safe, dignified and compassionate care.

Two-thirds (67%) of those responding believed staffing levels had got worse in the year since UNISON’s 2015 survey. A similar number (68%) had considered leaving their role in the previous 12 months.

Pushing the Call Button on Unsafe Staffing: Who Will Come to our Aid? was conducted after the government put a stop to the National Institute of Clinical Excellence’s (NICE) work into safe staffing levels. Almost three-quarters (72%) of health workers who responded to the survey were worried that staffing levels would worsen and patient safety suffer as a result of the decision.

Full report at UNISON website