Join our campaign for safe staffing

The UK picture

Safe staffing means having enough nursing staff with the right skills and knowledge, in the right place, at the right time. Without safe staffing levels in place, nursing staff are struggling to provide patients with the safe and effective care they would like to, and which patients deserve.

We're calling for safe and effective care to be enshrined in law in each UK country. 

Calling for safe staffing across the UK


In England there is no law related to nurse staffing. 

The RCN is campaigning for legislation to guarantee nurse staffing levels in England across all sectors and settings. 

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The Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Act 2016 was the first of its kind in the UK.

RCN Wales continues to campaign to protect patient care and empower the ward sister/charge nurse by advocating for the extension of the Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Act 2016 to children inpatient wards, mental health inpatient wards, community and care home settings.

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In May 2019 the Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Act became law. 

The RCN is now focused on monitoring how the law is implemented and making sure it achieves its aims.

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Northern Ireland

RCN members in Northern Ireland are currently undertaking a programme of industrial action to demand measures promoting safe nurse staffing and pay equality.

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Our principles for staffing for safe and effective care

We want it to be clear whose job it is to make sure there are enough nurses to meet patients’ needs.

We want the right number of nurses, with the right skills, to be in the right place, at the right time - so patients’ needs are met .

We want a vision for tackling nurse shortages and making sure nursing helps meet the whole country’s health needs.

We want clear plans for getting the right numbers and skill mix of nursing staff and we want checks to make sure they really happen.

We want governments to educate enough nursing students, and develop existing staff, to meet patients’ needs.

Find out more about our safe staffing campaign

Become an e-campaigner

Each month you'll receive an email with a quick and easy online action you can take to help us make sure we have safe staffing levels in England. 
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Subject guide

Safe staffing publications, resources and journal articles collated by the RCN library.

Advice guide

Guidance on staffing levels in the various health and care settings in the UK.