Staff shortages put patient safety at risk according to survey

Staff shortages put patient safety at risk according to survey

A survey conducted by Nurses.co.uk has shown that an overwhelming majority of NHS nurses believe staff shortages are putting patient safety at risk.

In fact, only 1 percent of the more than 550 respondents disagreed with the notion that patient safety is at risk. Furthermore, 95 percent of nurses said they are unable to carry out tasks to the best of their ability because of the staffing crisis.

With the current shortage of nurses and midwives standing at approximately 40,000, inadequate pay, the removal of the student bursary, and Brexit have all been cited as recruitment and retention barriers. This survey draws a clear an unavoidable line between staffing problems and the impact they’re having on the frontline.

The survey also shows that 86 percent of nurses would consider leaving the NHS as a result of the staffing crisis. This alarming statistic suggests the situation could well get worse before it gets better.

Ninety-four percent of nurses stated that they’re more physically tired due to the shortages, while 92 percent say their stress levels have increased. Worryingly, 85 percent also say that the new Pay Deal will not help to solve the crisis.

Significantly, 88 percent also said that trainee numbers cannot be boosted without re-introducing the bursary. The removal of the bursary in 2015 resulted in a 30 percent drop in would-be applications, so this survey supports the view that it was a flawed decision.

The survey also included more than 500 personally written comments, all of which painted a picture of life at the forefront of the NHS. Typical examples were:

  • “Staff shortages are affecting our mental health.”
  • “10 years ago I nursed on average 10 patients a day. Now I see 22 and feel I am unable to nurse them efficiently.”
  • “Staff are working way above the contracted hours to cover shortfall.”
  • “Nurse patient ratio should be protected in law.”

Stats and reports that show the scale of the staffing crisis are abundant. What this survey shows, through the responses and comments of nurses themselves, is precisely how this crisis is manifesting itself in hospitals.