71% of English hospital shifts at ‘red flag’ staffing levels – or worse

Last month, the RCN (Royal College of Nursing) published a document titled,

rcn staffing

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:

nhs eng 71

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:

rcn staffing 2

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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  1. ‘ ….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……’

    Neither fantasy or propaganda, it was sheer absolute LIES !
    Every single time Tory ministers spew out statistics, regarding NHS,Police, Fireman, Teachers etc , it’s all lies.

  2. Hey Skwarkbox,

    Is this not evidence to support public demand for transparency in politics, and independent watchdogs? For the term of their office Governments feed the electorate lies and perpetuate this practice knowingly. If transparency existed the public would not have to wait 7 years for this Blog-post to nail the lid on the coffin of the Tatty Tory Party…indeed governments could be held accountable far earlier and the public saved from immorality and greed by soulless heartless self-serving individuals in government. Their self-serving arrogance turns my stomach as too their unethical mentality that permeates the whole of government.

    Time for change. Paint it red. Power to the People!

    Namaste 🙂


      1. Hey Skwarkbox,

        This is despicable, and the decision makers should be held accountable for the suffering imposed on the public. I totally agree with your perspective, and what’s more I would very much welcome independent watchdogs for collation of statistical reporting also issued from all government departments and agencies as well. I feel it only fair and appropriate that all dimensions of government reporting be made transparent. Personally, I have lost my faith in any government around the world actually being able to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth at all times.

        Love is the new Red Revolution, it will be the New World Order. In the UK it begins with Mr Corbyn taking office. The public will then see how great leadership and firm influence over the world’s banks breeds a mentality of compassion, kindness, justice, and a far better sense of equality and brotherhood. There is a great weight of expectation placed upon his shoulders, but he will prevail.

        Have you ever pursued interest in this extraordinary ex-Canadian Foreign Minister, Mr. Paul Hellyer: ‘he is one of Canada’s best known and most controversial politicians.’ and an excellent resource on global banking, politics, global warming, alternate energy sources, and most interesting UFO phenomenon. He is a very well researched and outspoken gentleman. I wonder if he has much to say on UK politics??


        Many thanks 🙂 Namaste


  3. Very telling that it is never ever the fault of endless austerity on the part of the gov or our Minister of Health who is not resposible for anything but cost cutting. They really cant wait to declare it ‘ failed’ and institute the American system of ‘pay or die’.
    Hypocrits the lot of them.

  4. Just as well tess’ coughing fit wasn’t a bit more serious then, innit? :/

  5. 30,000 died in 2015 due to Tory cuts to the NHS and Social Care (not including any due to benefit cuts or sanctions or delays) 2016 is looking worse and who knows what will happen in 2017. The Tories were already the 6th leading cause of death in the UK in 2015. I think they want to become No.1

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