Tag Archives: Nurses

NHS nursing levels: Nine in 10 hospitals missing targets

The vast majority of hospitals in England are struggling to recruit enough nurses, figures show.

Some 92% of the 225 acute hospital trusts in England did not manage to run wards with their planned number of nurses during the day in August.

The figures, published by the NHS, show that hospitals in England are falling short of their own targets for levels of safe staffing.

The Department of Health said staffing was a priority.

A spokesman added that 50,000 nurses were currently in training.

Analysis by the Health Service Journal shows average staffing levels across the 225 acute hospital sites in August was worse compared with data for January, when 85% of hospitals missed their staffing targets for nurses working during the day.

The figures also showed 81% of hospitals failed to have enough registered nurses working at night.

Some 79% of hospitals missed their target for registered nurse staffing across both day and night.

‘Long way to go’

Royal College of Nursing chief executive Janet Davies said hospitals were trying to catch up on their staffing levels.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We went through a period of time where we were trying to save money. We cut posts, we didn’t train enough nurses and we’re still feeling the effect of that.

“We’ve a long way to go. We’ve got to catch up on this for some time. But equally, we have to keep the nurses we’ve already got. It’s great to train people, it’s great to bring people in, but our experienced nurses are leaving.

“They’re leaving because they’re overtired – it’s a bit of a vicious circle.”

She said nurses were “exhausted” at the end of their shifts and often having to stay late to provide extra care.

“They do get very concerned because they know what they should be doing for patients and if they can’t, it’s really upsetting,” she added.

Hospitals have been required to publish monthly data on whether they have enough nurses on wards since April 2014.

It followed a report into the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust, which was heavily criticised for failings of care that may have contributed to unnecessary deaths.

Many hospitals have had to boost their nurse numbers by recruiting overseas, and spending on agency staff has contributed to NHS deficits.

A Department of Health spokesman said: “Staffing is a priority – we’ve put more than 7,600 additional nurses on our wards since May 2010 and there are 50,000 nurses currently in training.

“We know that there are big challenges for hospitals, so we are helping the NHS to employ the staff it needs at a fair price by clamping down on rip-off staffing agencies and identifying billions of pounds of back-office savings so that as much money as possible goes to the front line.”

It comes after a study published in the British Journal of Anaesthesia suggested that fewer patients die after emergency surgery in hospitals that have more doctors and nurses.

The research, looking at data involving nearly 295,000 patients, also found death was more likely following a weekend admission, saying this showed staffing was a factor in the so-called weekend effect.

And a separate Nursing Times survey last week suggested nurses are under so much pressure that they cannot guarantee safe care for their patients.

The survey of nearly 1,000 nurses found eight out of 10 are under more stress at work than they were a year ago, with more than half saying they “rarely” or “never” had either sufficient time or staff to ensure safe care for patients. A third said their ward or team was “always” short-staffed.

Source BBC News

Discrimination against nurses ‘more common than most other NHS staff’

NHS managers have been issued a “call to action” to tackle discrimination, as new analysis reveals nurses are among the most likely professional groups in the health service to receive this kind of treatment.
Research by the King’s Fund think-tank on behalf of NHS England found 14% of nurses experienced discrimination in 2014, following a review of the most recent annual NHS staff survey.
The only other groups with higher levels of discrimination were healthcare assistants – reported by 17% of workers – and ambulance staff, where almost a quarter said they had been treated in this way.
The ethnic background of employees was the most significant factor for discrimination among all groups of workers – which included managers, doctors and allied health professionals – apart from ambulance staff.
Almost 9% of nurses said they had been discriminated against by patients, relatives or the public, while just over 8% said managers, team leaders or colleagues had acted in this way.
Overall, across the 255,000 staff members from 284 organisations that responded to the staff survey, 12% had experienced some form of discrimination.
Reported levels of discrimination were highest for black employees and lowest for white employees, while discrimination on the basis of faith was highest among Muslims.
The report called for more to be done to ensure the core values of the health service – including respect, dignity, compassion and inclusion – were “embod[ied] in all relationships, not only those with patients, service users and carers, but also in relationships between staff and between professional groups”.
Launching the report last week at a managers’ conference in London, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: “This new report paints an important picture of what is happening. It represents a call to action for everyone in the NHS.”
He said the new Workforce Race Equality Standard – introduced in April and which requires NHS trusts to report their treatment of black and minority ethnic staff compared with white workers – would drive improvements.
Recent research has found BME staff are significantly under-represented in senior management positions within the NHS and at trust board level.
A report published last year by Middlesex University research fellow Roger Kline – called The Snowy White Peaks of the NHS – found that in 2012, 1% of NHS chief executives were BME and 16% of the NHS workforce overall.
Source Nursing Times

Safe nurse staffing bill moves closer to becoming law in Wales

A safe nurse staffing bill in Wales has moved one step closer to becoming legislation, after ministers took a vote on its financial implications.
Welsh assembly members passed the motion on the financial resolution for the Safe Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Bill last night.
It will now move onto the next part of the legislative process, which will see ministers consider amendments to the bill.
A further two stages will still need to be passed before the bill can become law.
Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Kirsty Williams, who put forward the bill at the end of 2013, said last night’s decision was a signal ministers would agree for the law to be introduced.
“Nurses in Wales have to care for more patients per head than any other part of the UK. We simply can’t allow this situation to continue”
Kirsty Williams
She said the bill was a “golden opportunity” to combat negative media headlines about the Welsh NHS.
“The premise of this bill is simple – making sure there are more nurses on our hospital wards means each nurse will have more time to care for each patients.
“This will lead to better care outcomes for those patients, and a more manageable workload which might stem the flow of nurses leaving the profession,” she said.
“Nurses in Wales have to care for more patients per head than any other part of the UK. We simply can’t allow this situation to continue,” added Ms Williams.
A recent poll by the Royal College of Nursing in Wales of the general public found 90% said it was important to bring in the law.
If passed, it would see Wales become the first country in the UK with a legal duty on safe nurse staffing levels.
Source The Nursing Times

NHS ‘backtracking’ on ward nurse numbers introduced after Mid Staffs

The NHS has been accused of backtracking on improvements in patient safety made after the Mid Staffs scandal by reducing the number of nurses on wards because of its growing financial crisis.

NHS bosses have told hospitals they no longer have to ensure that one nurse is caring for no more than eight patients at a time, in order to help tackle a £2bn black hole that has left 80% of hospitals facing deficits of up to £100m each.

The letter states: “We would stress that a 1:8 ratio is a guide not a requirement. It should not be unthinkingly adhered to. Achieving the right number and balance of clinical and support staff to deliver quality care based on patient needs in an efficient way that makes the best possible use of available resources is the key issue for provider [hospital] boards.”

The letter from NHS bosses to NHS foundation trust and NHS trust chief executives.

The move, set out in a letter to all hospital chiefs, has sparked fears that patient safety will be sacrificed to help hospitals cut costs. It makes clear that financial considerations are deemed to be as important as the safety and quality of care patients receive when deciding how many nurses should be on duty.

Cash-strapped hospitals may be tempted to cut their nurse staffing levels as a result of the new advice, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) warned. Staffing takes up 70% of the NHS’s budget and its bill for employing temporary staff to plug gaps in rotas, especially expensive agency nurses, has hit £3.3bn in the last two years.

The letter has been signed by NHS England, the Care Quality Commission, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), and the regulator NHS Improvement. It recommends that hospitals can ask health professionals, such as physiotherapists, to help look after patients, and use technology to monitor their condition, to reduce the need for nurses on duty.

It urges hospitals “to take a rounded view of staffing” that shows they are “making the best use of resources” as well as providing safe care. It lists a set of variables, including how ill patients are, and then adds: “In some cases these factors will mean a higher number of nurses per patient, and in other cases it will mean a lower number or different configuration of staff can be justified.”

It adds: “It is therefore important to look at staffing in a flexible way which is focused on the quality of care, patient safety and efficiency rather than just numbers and ratios of staff.”

The NHS is under heavy pressure from ministers to make £22bn of “efficiency savings” by 2020 to help plug the £30bn gap expected to have developed in its finances.

The new advice is a substantial downgrading of guidelines produced only last year by Nice, which insisted that no nurse should look after more than eight patients to ensure good, safe care. That ratio was widely hailed as a way of avoiding a repeat of the Mid Staffs scandal, in which a lack of nurses was found to be a key cause of the appalling care.

Howard Catton, the RCN’s head of policy, said: “There’s a risk that people in the NHS may interpret this letter as a green light to row back on safe staffing when the NHS’s finances are in the perilous state that they are.”

However, he added that other suggestions in the letter, such as allowing hospital managers to use their professional judgment about how many nurses were needed and not rigidly applying fixed ratios, were “common sense”.

Labour said the NHS circular showed that patient care could be put at risk as a result of the fast-ballooning deficit.

“The idea that hospitals can ignore safe-staffing guidance will alarm patients. Safe staffing levels are essential for patient safety and were a key recommendation of the Francis report,” said Heidi Alexander, the shadow health secretary.

“If ministers attempt to balance the books in the NHS by cutting staff and putting patients at risk, then Labour will oppose them all the way. It is yet further evidence that the financial crisis in the NHS is now a real threat to patient care.”
Analysis Is NHS being overcharged by agencies – or are staff shortages the real issue?
Health secretary Jeremy Hunt is bringing in curbs on the use of employment agencies in the health service, but is he missing the point?
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Ian Wilson, chair of the British Medical Association’s representative body, said: “Adequate staffing levels are vital to deliver safe, high-quality patient care. Flatline funding at a time of rising demand has left services and the frontline staff who deliver them under enormous pressure. The solution is not to stretch existing staff even further, but to ensure the NHS has the resources needed to deliver safe care.”

But hospital bosses welcomed the move away from the 1:8 ratio. “NHS England boss Simon Stevens deserves credit for persuading Jeremy Hunt to soften his previous hard line on safety at any cost. We need to be pragmatic in the face of spiralling deficits,” one told the Guardian .

“It will give more discretion to senior nursing colleagues, giving them a vote of confidence. A ‘one size fits all’ is not the solution to staffing levels; it is about empowering frontline leaders.”

Canadace Imison, director of healthcare systems at the Nuffield Trust thinktank, said: “This letter shows a welcome attempt by NHS regulators to deliver a consistent message about safe staffing levels. It also rightly recognises that the 1:8 nurse to patient ratio is a crude metric and not to be seen as a benchmark.”

But it also leaves NHS trusts no wiser about whether they should under-staff or overspend in order to provide high-quality care, Imison added.

Source The Guardian

Care Homes Needing Help with Documentation – Why Planning for Care?

My Care Home desperately needed help improving all the paperwork and documentation. 
It needed to be more detailed and individualised and every nurse and carer had to ensure the same standard of documentation.
I am first and foremost a nurse, and love being a nurse and I operate a Grade 6 Award winning Care Home in Scotland. 

I wanted to help my own and other Care Homes achieve excellence and meet the ever increasing demands of the Care Inspectorate.

I have had so many different people inspecting my Care Home and found that each of them had slightly different opinions and ideas about  what should be and comment on the content of our Care Plans and assessments, nobody could tell exactly what they were looking for and what would tick every box.

The increasing demands of the Care Inspectorate for the correct paper work means that trained nurses and carers are spending too much valuable time writing and re writing their care plans and assessments

I wanted to produce a system that would guide any nurse or carer no matter their abilities are to produce an extremely detailed person centred Nursing Care Plan.

This would enable anyone reading it to understand exactly what assistance the resident requires and what abilities and preferences they have.

In particular I wanted the nurses and carers to explore and get a real picture of who the resident is not just what issues they face.

I wanted the Care Plan to identify exactly what the resident could or would like to do themselves thereby encouraging and supporting them to maintain skills and remain as independent as possible.

I also wanted every Nursing Care Plan to be so precise and informative that any agency nurse or bank worker could deliver an excellent standard of individualised care.

Every elderly person deserves to have excellent care delivered in a dignified way.

The Nursing Care Plans produced by Planning for Care, focus on respect of choices, dignity and a person’s individuality.

They ensure that no matter what the resident’s difficulties or issues are, whether communication, mental health or otherwise, their voice is heard and their preferences and choices are respected.

The Planning for Care system and documents have dramatically improved my Care Home service.

The paperwork is much easier to complete, is far more detailed and takes less time to complete.

That means my nurses and carers can give much more time to the actual delivery of care, which is most definitely my priority. 

An Elderly Cranky Old Man

When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in an Australian country town, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.

Later, when the nurses were going through his meager possessions, They found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.

One nurse took her copy to Melbourne. The old man’s sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas editions of magazines around the country and appearing in mags for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem.

And this old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this ‘anonymous’ poem winging across the Internet.

Cranky Old Man

What do you see nurses? . . .. . .What do you see?
What are you thinking .. . when you’re looking at me?
A cranky old man, . . . . . .not very wise,
Uncertain of habit .. . . . . . . .. with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food .. . … . . and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice . .’I do wish you’d try!’
Who seems not to notice . . .the things that you do.
And forever is losing . . . . . .. . . A sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not . . . … lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding . . . .The long day to fill?
Is that what you’re thinking?. .Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse .you’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am . . . . .. As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, .. . . . as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of Ten . .with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters .. . . .. . who love one another
A young boy of Sixteen . . . .. with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now . . .. . . a lover he’ll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty . . . ..my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows .. .. .that I promised to keep.
At Twenty-Five, now . . . . .I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide . . . And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty . .. . . . . My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other . . .. With ties that should last.
At Forty, my young sons .. .have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me . . to see I don’t mourn.
At Fifty, once more, .. …Babies play ’round my knee,
Again, we know children . . . . My loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me . . . . My wife is now dead.
I look at the future … . . . . I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing .. . . young of their own.
And I think of the years . . . And the love that I’ve known.
I’m now an old man . . . . . . .. and nature is cruel.
It’s jest to make old age . . . . . . . look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles .. .. . grace and vigor, depart.
There is now a stone . . . where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass . A young man still dwells,
And now and again . . . . . my battered heart swells
I remember the joys . . . . .. . I remember the pain.
And I’m loving and living . . . . . . . life over again.
I think of the years, all too few . . .. gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact . . . that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people .. . . . .. . . open and see.
Not a cranky old man .
Look closer . . . . see .. .. . .. …. . ME!!

Remember this poem when you next meet an older person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within. We will all, one day, be there, too!

The best and most beautiful things of this world can’t be seen or touched. They must be felt by the heart!

Things I’ve Learned . . . .

I’ve learned….
that the best classroom in the world
is at the feet of an elderly person.

I’ve learned….
that when you’re in love, it shows.

I’ve learned….
that just one person saying to me,
“You’ve made my day!” makes my day.

I’ve learned….
that I feel better about myself when
I make others feel better about themselves.

I’ve learned….
that having a child fall asleep in your
arms is one of the most peaceful
feelings in the world.

I’ve learned….
that what we have done for ourselves
alone dies with us. What we have done
for others and the world remains and
is immortal.

I’ve learned….
that one sincere apology is worth more
than all the roses money can buy.

I’ve learned….
that words harshly spoken are as difficult
to retrieve as feathers in a gale.

I’ve learned….
that being kind is more important than
being right.

I’ve learned….
that you should never say no to a
gift from a child.

I’ve learned….
that I can always pray for someone when
I don’t have the strength to help him
in some other way.

I’ve learned….
that no matter how serious your life
requires you to be, everyone needs a
friend to act goofy with.

I’ve learned….
that sometimes all a person needs is a
hand to hold and a heart to understand.


Plans for new system of nurse competency checks approved by regulator

The Nursing and Midwifery Council has today approved plans for the introduction of a major new system of competency checks for registered nurses and midwives, with the regulator’s chief executive describing it as a “historic” moment.
The new checks system, called revalidation, will need to be completed every three years by nurses and midwives in order for them to remain on the NMC register and, therefore, able to practise.
Nursing and midwifery unions and organisations representing employers have largely welcomed the launch, although stressed the importance of an ongoing evaluation of the system to see if it can be improved in the future.
They noted the 16,000 nurses and midwives due to renew their registration in April would only have six months to ensure they have met all requirements and urged them and employers to begin preparation immediately.
NMC council members unanimously agreed to introduce revalidation next spring. They also approved standards for the new system.
It will replace the current system of post-registration education and practice (PREP) in April 2016, after NMC council members signed off guidance today at their latest meeting in London.
The guidance for revalidation states that registrants will have to complete at least 450 hours of practice, compile five pieces of practice-related feedback and prepare five written reflective accounts relating to the code of conduct.
A reflective discussion with another registrant is also required, as is a health and character declaration and evidence of indemnity insurance.
In addition, registrants must have all of the revalidation requirements “confirmed” and signed off by a third party, who is preferably their line manager but does not have to be an NMC registrant.
Registrants will have to complete a minimum of 35 hours of continuing professional development in the three years prior to registration renewal, with 20 of these hours being participatory.
This represents a change from the original proposal of 40 hours of CPD, following feedback from organisations which tested the system and said there was no evidence of the benefits from this increase.
The new system has been piloted by more than 2,000 nurses working at a range of different sites prior to its roll-out nationally. It was tested in 19 sites across the UK this summer.
The NMC said it was “confident” that, based on the results from the pilots, the introduction of revalidation was “achievable, effective and realistic”.
The NMC council today also approved changes to standards for readmission to the register.
This included closing a loophole which could have enabled nurses to avoid revalidation by allowing their registration to lapse and then reapplying to the register within the next six months. 
Those attempting this will now be required to complete revalidation.
Meanwhile, midwives who have dual registration and work only as a school nurse or health visitor will now not be required to submit an annual intention to practise midwifery form to their supervisor.
They will remain on the NMC register, but their entry will say they are not entitled to practise as a midwife –unless they then complete a return to midwifery practice programme.
Nearly 16,000 nurses and midwives will be the first to revalidate in April 2016. All 685,000 nurses and midwives on the NMC’s register will go through the new process as their registration becomes due for renewal over the course of the next three years.
At the regulator’s meeting today, before approving the system some council members raised concerns about the “one size fits all model”, as well as potential difficulties for registrants in smaller organisation in completing the 20 hours of participatory CPD.
NMC  corporate legislation adviser Clare Padley said the regulator would be evaluating the revalidation model “from the outset” and that it would also carry out a formal review.
Meanwhile, NMC director of continued practice Katerina Kolyva said that while participatory CPD would be more difficult for some registrants, it was an important new element of revalidation designed to “challenge professional isolation”.
NMC council member Quinton Quayle predicted there would be some “minor glitches” with the system and NMC chair Janet Finch said the regulator’s evaluation of the pilots found many organisations were still yet to implement their plans meaning they would have “quite a lot of work” to do ahead of April.
NMC chief executive and registrar Jackie Smith later told Nursing Times the regulator noted there had been “a lot of anxiety” around the burden of revalidation on employers and individuals.
But she said the NMC’s guidance approved today made it clear that organisations and registrants did not need to go to great lengths to be able to support or complete revalidation.
However, she reiterated the regulator would monitor revalidation, including the “crucial” element of CPD.
She said today’s decision to introduce revalidation from April was an “absolutely tremendous, historic moment”.
“It reflects where the NMC is and the progress that we’ve made. Many thought the NMC couldn’t do this and we’ve demonstrated we can,” she said.
“It’s also important to say just how significant this is for the profession and the public. It simply can’t be right that you sit on a register for years and there is no way that anyone ask questions about how you are living the standards set out in the code,” she added.
“Importantly for the profession, [there is] huge support for this and that’s great because it has enabled us to deliver something they value.
“They [the profession] absolutely want to demonstrate what the vast majority of them do which is practise to a very high standard,” said Ms Smith.
Source The Nursing Times

Nurses should not be subject to new immigration rules, says NHS England chief

The head of NHS England has urged the government to reconsider immigration rules that will see lower-earning nurses, rather than ballet dancers, from outside the EU deported at a time when the profession faces a shortage.
The policy has already been criticised by employers’ groups and the nurses’ union, which have said it is a recipe for chaos that could cost millions in recruitment.
They have called on the Home Office to add nurses to the list of shortage occupations, which are exempt from the new rules, and reconsider the £35,000 salary threshold. 
Under the rules, workers from outside the European Economic Area who are earning less than £35,000 after six years in the UK will be deported.
On Tuesday, NHS England’s chief executive, Simon Stevens, became the most senior figure within the health service to enter the fray.
He told the Institute of Directors (IoD) annual convention in London: “Understandably we’re having a national discussion about how to get immigration right. My responsibility is to point out that, at time when the need for nurses is growing, when publicly funded UK nurse training places will take several years to expand, and when agency staff costs are driving hospital overspends right now, we need to better join up the dots on immigration policy and the NHS.
“However, most nurses I speak to struggle to understand why our immigration rules define ballet dancers as a shortage occupation but not nursing. And most hospitals tell me the idea that we would seriously consider deporting some of our most experienced and committed nurses solely because they’re not earning £35,000 clearly needs a rethink.”
The Royal College of Nursing has claimed that, as things stand, up to 3,365 nurses, who cost £20.19m to recruit, could be affected.
But the union says that figure could rise to 29,755 nurses, costing more than £178.5m to recruit, by 2020, if workforce pressures lead to increased international recruitment.
Analysis Is Theresa May right about immigration?
We check the home secretary’s claims that immigration is pushing thousands out of work, undercutting wages and bringing no economic benefit to the UK
 Read more
It says there is a lack of home-grown people trained to do the job and that new rules capping the amount spent on agency workers make overseas recruitment a vital outlet.
Stevens’s intervention came as the home secretary, Theresa May, told the Conservative party conference in Manchester that Britain must work harder to control immigration, in a speech criticised by the IoD as pandering to anti-immigration sentiment. The health ecretary, Jeremy Hunt, also claimed the Tories were the “true party of the NHS” and told its employees: “We are proud of every single one of you.”
Stevens’s comments won him plaudits from the lobby group NHS Employers, which has been at pains to point out the difficulty the new rules will cause its members.
Its chief executive, Danny Mortimer, said: “We warmly welcome the important intervention made by Simon Stevens in highlighting the value of migrant nurses and doctors in the NHS who have contributed a significant amount to the way we deliver care to our patients. NHS Employers has written to the home secretary, Theresa May, to highlight that many NHS Trusts are facing a shortage of nurses going into winter as the Home Office refuses to grant visas to nurses from outside the EU.”
He said plans to train more nurses domestically would not deliver qualified professionals until 2017.
Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN said: “There is now a consensus across the health service that the Home Office must make a change.
“It is an irrefutable fact that rising demand for health care, a shortage of home grown nurses, and new rules limiting the use of agency staff mean the NHS is reliant on overseas recruitment to provide safe patient care.
“Ignoring this issue any longer would be irresponsible, illogical and bad for patients.”
A Home Office spokeswoman said it made sense to train domestic workers to fill posts in the long term. She added: “The Independent Migration Advisory Committee, which took evidence from a number of NHS trusts and representative bodies from across the UK, recommended against adding nurses to the shortage occupation list.
“Although NHS trusts have been given more than 1,400 Tier 2 certificates of sponsorship for nurses since April this year, over 600 of the places allocated to them in April and May this year were returned unused.”
Source The Guardian

Pressures facing nursing staff highlighted by RCN survey

Nursing staff are working in “intolerable situations” and feel unsupported and undervalued, with many thinking about leaving the profession, according to a Royal College of Nursing survey.

It found 56% of respondents thought too much time was spent on non-nursing duties, with 59% saying they were too busy to provide the level of care that they would like.
In addition, 43% reported an increase in the number of patients they were being asked to care for, while 42% reported recruitment freezes.

Meanwhile, 82% had worked when not feeling well enough to do so, of which 46% said the main reason was stress.

Almost third of all respondents were seeking a new job, with almost a quarter looking to leave healthcare completely.

Over half had worked extra hours to pay the bills and other living expenses and 32% had worked night or weekend shifts to help do so.

The results chime with similar findings published last week by another union and echo a major survey by Nursing Times in 2014, which was widely reported on by the national media.

    Survey finds NHS staff feel ‘undervalued’ and ‘overwhelmed’

A report published last Wednesday and based on a survey of 10,500 Unison members working in the NHS found around two thirds were seriously considering leaving their jobs.

Staffing shortages, low pay and changes in the NHS were cited as the key reasons for wanting to move on.

Josie Irwin, RCN head of employment relations, said: “Nursing staff are being placed in intolerable situations. Many nurses skip every break, work late after every shift, do their paperwork in their own time, and the pressure just increases.

“Employers, the NHS and the government need to work together to ensure that there are enough nurses, with the right level of skills,” she added.

The figures were based on the results of an online survey sent to a random sample of RCN members, receiving 4,137 responses.

“We need the Home Office to add nurses onto the shortage occupation list so we are able to find high-calibre nurses from overseas”

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, said: “These surveys reflect the difficult times some NHS Trusts and their staff are facing.

“The commitment to deliver the same standard of care to patients amid rising demand has an understandable impact on the wellbeing of staff,” he said. “Trusts are telling us that we currently do not have enough nurses to meet demand.”

Mr Mortimer repeated his call for nursing to be added to the list of occupations that are deemed to be in short supply and, therefore, outside of government migration quotas.

“We need, for the next two years, to be able to recruit nurses from overseas while we train new nurses from the UK,” he said.

“We need the Home Office to add nurses onto the shortage occupation list so that, where we are able to find high-calibre nurses from overseas, we can secure their employment for the benefit of patients – and our own NHS workforce,” he added.


What nursing staff told the RCN

One nurse said: “I have to work late most shifts to ensure workload is complete. Too much paperwork and not enough patient care.”

Another said: “The ward is intense and busy. We are running ourselves into the ground, not taking breaks and leaving an hour after shifts end to get all our work done. We should get paid a lot more for this amount of pressure.”

A healthcare assistant working in the independent sector said: “It is very hard work, the majority of people will need basic care at some point of their lives – it is very underappreciated.”

Source The Nursing Times