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Union's fears over nursing shortages and patient safety

Posted on 2/10/2017 by

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PATIENT care is being compromised due to shortages of nurses and support staff across the county, according to a nursing union.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) surveyed more than 30,000 nursing staff across the UK – including 2,115 in Yorkshire and the Humber - and asked nurses about staffing levels on their most recent shift and the quality of care provided.

Fifty eight per cent of nursing staff said there was a shortfall of one or more registered nurses on their last shift; and 41 per cent reported a shortfall of one or more health care support workers.

The RCN is calling on the boards of health and social care providers to urgently review nurse staffing levels, give public assurances on patient safety and take action where standards are not met.

The survey found patients are no longer afforded enough dignity, even dying alone; colleagues have suffered burn out and become sick themselves - unable to come to work; and staff leave work “sobbing” at the impact of shortages on patient care.

Karl Norwood, operational manager for RCN Yorkshire, said: “Nurses are being forced out by ever increasing stress and pressure of the role, whilst their pay has been capped.

“Nurses have seen their salaries drop by 14 per cent in real terms over the last seven years and some face the very real prospect of leaving the job they love in order to pay the rent."

Beverley Geary, chief nurse at York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said the trust closely monitors staffing levels and has recently appointed 80 new registered nurses.

“The trust is also piloting the pioneering national ‘nurse associates’ programme, and in addition, we are looking at new and exciting roles to change skill mix to support nursing teams - which will help transform the nursing and care workforce for the future.”

Source: YorkPress