An investigation by the Health Service Journal (HSJ) has revealed that 96 per cent of acute hospitals has failed to meet their own planned level of nurses on wards during the day in October 2016. Meanwhile, 85 per cent of hospitals missed their target for nurses working at night in the same month. Both figures show the worst performance since analysis began in 2014.
The analysis of official figures shows that almost every NHS acute hospital in England has dangerously few nurses on wards and staff shortages are worsening. Staff have said that patients were being left unmonitored, unwashed and without crucial medications because hospitals are short of staff.
The figures suggest that understaffing has worsened since the government capped pay for agency nurses.
The Royal College of Nursing has called on the Government to improve nursing pay and tackle the apparent drop in student applications following the elimination of bursaries in England.
Commenting on the figures, Janet Davies, the chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing said that there are too few nurses caring for patients, which put people at serious risk, and drastic action is needed to rebuild the nursing workforce.
She further added that the health care assistants play a crucial role in the team but the research shows that support roles cannot replace registered nurses if patients are to receive safe care.
Professor Peter Griffiths, an NHS adviser from Southampton University said that more than 100 hospitals had more health assistants than planned, signifying that less skilled staffs were plugging nursing gaps. According to the research published in November found that patients were a fifth more likely to die in hospitals where nurses were replaced with less-qualified staff.
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