Last month, the RCN (Royal College of Nursing) published a document titled,
That document contains a bleak analysis of evidence that the RCN describes as ‘desperately sad’ – and among the most frightening is a set of data concerning nurse to patient ratios and how NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) rates safe ratios:
By NICE standards, eight or more patients per nurse on a shift is a ‘red flag’ – a warning that care is becoming unsafe.
And based on the data gathered, more than seven in ten shifts worked in the NHS in England were at red-flag level – or beyond.
Nurses have told the SKWAWKBOX of safe nursing ratios being exceeded routinely, often by substantial margins. The words the report quotes on the issue from a nurse are all too typical:
Jeremy Hunt, in his speech to the Tory conference this week, tried to paint a picture of a thriving NHS in which patient care and satisfaction are at record levels. It was pure fantasy – or rather, propaganda.
More than two out of every three shifts, when measured, were unsafe enough to merit a ‘red flag’ – or worse.
The report is overflowing with awful news of the reality of an NHS failing under the Tories, with nursing shortfalls in:
- children’s care
- elderly care
- intensive care
- accident and emergency
- mental health
- community care
as well as, outside the NHS, in care homes.
In other words, every area of the NHS is in dire trouble when it comes to nurse numbers.
But numbers are not the whole story. Cost-cutting has degraded the ‘skill mix of those staff who are present, leading to stress and even panic among nurses who are faced with unmanageable and deeply dangerous situations.
The full report is forty-two pages of woeful news every person who relies on the NHS – and information that damns the Tories who in just seven years have brought a thriving NHS to this pass.
To a situation that is already risking and costing lives. And to the verge of catastrophic collapse.
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