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Poll reveals Wales population believe safe nurse staffing levels important

2 Nov 2015

An RCN Wales commissioned poll of the Welsh public shows strong support for the Safe Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Bill.

A poll of the welsh population, carried out by ComRes on behalf of the Royal College of Nursing Wales has published a new report showing strong public support for the Safe Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Bill. 

Almost nine in ten Welsh adults (87%) say that it is important that a new law on ‘safe’ nurse staffing levels in hospital wards is passed, and almost three in five (57%) say it is very important.

A study of UK wards by Professor Anne-Marie Rafferty found that mortality increased by 26% on wards with lower nurse staffing levels. In California where a similar law was introduced 30 day mortality rates fell by 10-13%.


Poor nurse staffing in hospital wards results in an increase in infection rates, patient falls, poor nourishment and hydration, the incidence of pressure sores, lack of communication and mistakes administering medication.


Tina Donnelly, Director of the Royal College of Nursing in Wales said: “Nurses support this legislation because it will save lives. This poll shows the public also strongly support the new law. There can be no higher priority for the Welsh Government than protecting the lives and wellbeing of patients by ensuring they receive safe nursing care.” 


The Financial Resolution for the Safe Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Bill is due to be discussed in the National Assembly for Wales tomorrow, potentially reaching the next stage in the Assembly law making process. If the Government lay the Financial Resolution and authorise any expenditure as a result of the bill, Wales is one step closer to ensuring that all Health Boards have an adequate number of registered nurses on a ward.