Safe staffing - be in at the start of something big

Tracey Budding 22 Feb 2019 Safe staffing

How often are you frustrated that you cannot deliver the quality of care that your patients and service users need because there aren’t enough staff on duty? How often are you anxious that they might not even be safe?

In the most recent NHS staff survey, nearly half of registered nurses and midwives said there weren’t enough staff in their organisation for them to do their job properly. Only 30% said there were sufficient staff.

Along with a couple of colleagues from the West Midlands, I recently attended the first in a series of meetings designed to shape a new RCN campaign to press for a new law in England which guarantees that nurse staffing levels are safe.

I heard two very resounding messages from the RCN members, representatives and staff from across England who were in the room.

Firstly, securing a new law will not happen overnight. In Wales, the RCN began campaigning for legally-enforceable nurse staffing levels in 2007 but it wasn’t until April last year – 11 years later – that a new Act for Wales was implemented in full.


Secondly, if we are to succeed with our Staffing for Safe and Effective Care campaign in England, the involvement of as many of you, our members, as possible is crucial.

In protecting patients from the risks of persistent staff shortages, the legislation we want to see in place will also help to safeguard you, your practice and your wellbeing.

The bigger force we are, the more irresistible our actions become. By adding your voice and your energy to the campaign at what is still very much the planning stage, you can help to ensure it sets out on the right course.

This is just the start, and my hope is that we’re able to look back in a few years’ time and feel proud that our members have played such a crucial role in a momentous change for the better.

Tracey Budding

Tracey Budding

Deputy President

Tracey has been Deputy President of the RCN since October 2020. She has worked on the NHS frontline for more than 35 years, from health care assistant to modern matron. Her current nursing specialism is neonatal intensive care.

Page last updated - 22/02/2021