SUPPORTING CALLS for safer nurse staffing levels

Nursing Numbers (3)The Safe Staffing Alliance held a Commons reception to highlight their message that when it comes to nurse staffing levels, numbers matter. The Never More Than 8 campaign demands that a registered nurse should never have to care for more than eight patients at a time.

The Alliance, made up of senior nurse leaders, argues that there is clear research evidence showing a direct link between numbers of registered nurses and the quality of care delivered to patients.

A staffing ratio of one registered nurse to eight patients (excluding the nurse in charge) is the level below which there is a significant risk of harm.

So, for example, a 24-bed ward must have at least three registered nurses on duty plus a nurse in charge, and be supported by three or four healthcare assistants. This does not guarantee good care, but anything less is known to increase the risk of poor care and constitutes a safety hazard.

The Alliance’s chair, Liz Robb commented:

“There is already recommended staffing levels for children’s services, intensive care and maternity services.

“We want to take that a step further with a clear fundamental standard for elderly patients who are, after all, the majority of patients on our general wards. We owe them nothing less.”

Andrew Gwynne MP said:

“It is clear that there is a link between numbers of nurses and the quality of care that patients receive. We need to do all we can to ensure all patients receive the care that they deserve.”

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