RCN responds to Keogh review

Published: 16 July 2013

The Royal College of Nursing has responded to the publication of the Keogh review, which investigated 14 hospital trusts with high mortality rates in England, reiterating its calls for the introduction of mandatory staffing levels. The RCN welcomed the emphasis on the need to get NHS care right for everyone and stressed the importance of implementing the review’s recommendations as a matter of urgency.

Dr Peter Carter, RCN Chief Executive & General Secretary, said: “We take this review incredibly seriously and have detailed examples of where we’ve raised concerns about patient safety in these trusts. There’s an undeniable link between nurse staffing levels and patient mortality and we can’t keep failing to address this issue. Only with the right numbers of nurses, with the right skills, can we ensure patients are looked after with dignity and compassion.”

The review, undertaken by NHS Medical Director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, was commissioned in light of the Francis report into failings at Stafford Hospital. It identifies key risk factors and warning signs to show where, and why, some trusts are underperforming and the steps needed to improve standards of patient care and safety.  

“Of course, where there are examples of individuals delivering poor care, these must be challenged and people must be held to account, but today’s review paints a picture of endemic poor leadership, chronic understaffing and a lack of transparency,” added Dr Carter.

Earlier this year, the RCN produced a report into the critical warning signs that need to be tackled across the health service, including staff cuts, an ageing workforce, and soaring patient demand, which if ignored could be disastrous for the health service. The RCN now fears this is coming to fruition.  Read Nursing on Red Alert (PDF 887KB), published in April 2013, for more information. See how to access PDF files.