Responding to the University of Southampton report, ‘Implementation, Impact and Costs of Policies for Safe Staffing in Acute NHS Trusts’, on safe levels of nursing staff, RCN Director for England, Patricia Marquis said:
“Mid Staffordshire showed us the dire consequences of nurse shortages and yet those precious lessons have been forgotten so quickly. It will trouble patients and the public today to hear the experts warn again of the deadly risks being run and that some parts of the NHS have 1 in 5 posts vacant according to this report.
“Now that there are 40,000 unfilled nurse jobs in England, it is time for Ministers and the NHS to get a firm grip on the situation before it deteriorates further.
“The legacy of the Francis Report was a once in a generation opportunity to increase nurse staffing levels across all health and care settings but any short-term progress in hospitals has fallen away. Rising patient numbers are outstripping small nurse increases.
“The report is right to raise concerns around the increased numbers of support staff too – these increases must be matched by rises in registered nurses if we’re to keep the full and appropriate mix of skills in care settings.
“The Government should commit to a new law for England to provide accountability for staffing levels for safe and effective care, and provide an additional investment of at least £1 billion in nurse education to retain the existing workforce and train the next generation of nurses”.