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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. 

> Join the campaign


Safe staffing legislation which covers NHS hospitals has already been introduced in Wales. 

The RCN is continuing to campaign to ensure that this law improves the situation for nursing teams and their patients. The RCN is also working with the Welsh Government to extend the legislation to other areas of nursing.

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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

In Northern Ireland there is no law on nurse staffing levels, but the Department of Health (Northern Ireland) has outlined nurse staffing in the Delivering Care framework.

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

news articles 31 news articles

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.