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Safe staffing

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.

Over 25,000 of you completed our survey on safe staffing, sharing your views on staffing levels in the care setting you work in.

Thank you to everyone who completed the survey - we are now looking at what you have told us. This evidence is crucial in ensuring we represent the collected views of our members and demonstrate the importance of safe and effective staffing for patient care to the public, policy makers and governments in the UK.

What is happening across the UK

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.

The Scottish Government has launched a consultation (closes 5 July 2017) asking broad questions about what a Bill on safe staffing in Scotland should look like. The RCN will be responding to this consultation, and is already working with the Scottish Government to shape the proposed safe staffing Bill, from a professional and trade union perspective.

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

In England there is no law related to nurse staffing. NHS Trusts have not been told to use specific workforce planning tools, but resources and national guidance are used to support local decision making on staffing.
Safe staffing

Safe and Effective Staffing: the Real Picture

RCN report on the current situation in the UK and what needs to be done to address the issues.

Read report

Advice guide

Guidance on staffing levels in the various health and care settings in the UK produced by the RCN advice team.

Subject guide

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