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RCN London Safe Staffing Report 2014

The RCN London Safe Staffing Report 2014 was published on 11 December 2014. You can read the full report online here. The document looks at nursing shortages in London including a survey of members working in mental health settings.

News Release: 11 December 2014

The RCN London Safe Staffing Report 2014, published today, shows that the region’s nursing shortage is increasing with more than 8000 nursing posts in the capital unfilled. 14% of London nursing posts are now vacant, up from 11% a year ago.

RCN London are calling for system-wide action to ensure London employers are able to recruit enough nurses to keep staffing numbers at the level they believe are needed to keep patients safe.

Boost to posts

The Francis Report published in 2013 made a strong link between staffing levels, skill mix and patient safety. Since then most London hospitals trusts have increased their number of nursing posts this year. RCN London’s research found:

  • The number of NHS nursing posts in London increased by around 2500 in 2014
  • There are now around a thousand more nurses working in London’s NHS compared to a year ago
  • Every London NHS trust but four have increased their budgeted number of nurses in 2014

Staffing shortages

However in many cases it seems employers are unable to find enough staff to fill the new posts. RCN London found growing signs of a recruitment crisis in London nursing:

  • 60% of the new posts created this year remain unfilled
  • Although only four London NHS trusts have cut posts in 2014, in practice nine now employ fewer nurses than a year ago
  • Seven London NHS trusts are now running nursing vacancy rates of 19% or more, peaking at 23%

RCN London also found continued cuts to senior posts, with 80% of the new jobs created at Band 5 while posts at Band 8a and above were cut by a further 2%.

RCN London Regional Director Bernell Bussue said: “An inescapable link is now established between staffing levels, skill mix and patient safety, and the number of nursing posts across London has increased sharply this year. However London still suffers from a critical shortage of nurses and only 40% of the new posts have been filled.

“As the cost of living continues to rise, much more needs to be done, right across the system, to make sure London remains an attractive and affordable place for nurses to work, so that local employers can recruit enough staff to deliver top quality patient care.

“RCN London are calling for a more strategic approach to workforce planning to ease staffing challenges right across the region. We want the pay freeze ended as soon as possible. And with many trusts looking overseas to recruit, more needs to be done to make sure staff who are living and working in the UK for the first time are able to settle and build careers here in London.”

If you are an RCN member and you are concerned about the safety of staffing levels at your work please contact RCN Direct on 0345 772 6100.

For more information about the work of RCN London please visit www.rcn.org.uk/london