'Shortage' of nurses on wards

Hundreds of hospitals do not have enough nurses to care for patients properly, according to analysis of staffing levels by The Times. Research found that 43 per cent of NHS wards have only one nurse for every eight patients.

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Your views: Nursing shortages in NHS wards

We asked subscribers on the ITV News Facebook page their thoughts on nursing shortages in NHS hospitals and what experiences of patient care they have had.

I've just been in and had a major operation and the nurses were run ragged doing everything from changing beds to looking after me but I still got 100% care. I was lucky I was on a ward with only four beds.

– Maxine Creedon Barrett

I was at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich last week and on the chemotherapy ward where they only had two staff, and were run ragged. The nursing staff work extremely hard and very long hours!

– Hayley Brown

There are times when you only have one staff nurse to look after a whole ward in hospital, with maybe only two other health care assistants!!!

– Tracy Carr Washenry

Read: Health Select Committee call for NHS to be more open after Stafford scandal

Call for NHS to be more open after Stafford scandal

The Chairman of the Committee calling for all hospitals to publish nursing ward staffing levels on a daily basis has said that the Stafford hospital scandal must be an “electric shock” that galvanises the NHS to become more open.

Stephen Dorrell, who chairs the Health Select Committee, said the NHS need to increase awareness of patient care and staffing levels in hospitals.

It has been reported by The Times that the Chief Nursing Officer is preparing to issue guidance to hospitals after figures found that 413 wards routinely operated with low numbers of nurses.

Read: Royal College of Nursing 'concerned' at nursing shortfall

Royal College of Nursing 'concerned' at nursing shortfall

The Royal College of Nursing (RCNhas said it is "extremely concerned" over new analysis which shows that hundreds of NHS hospitals do not have enough nurses to care for patients properly.

Peter Carter, chief executive of the RCN, told The Times:

What Jane Ball’s research has found is unacceptable and we should be extremely concerned about it.

In most place where there’s poor care it’s not because nurses are willfully negligent or unfeeling, it’s because there aren’t the numbers.

3,000 nurses from 46 hospitals were asked about conditions on their last shift as part of the three-year survey project by the National Nursing Research Unit at King’s College London.

Read: Nursing shortfall could 'lead to more patient deaths'

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Nursing shortfall could 'lead to more patient deaths'

The shortage of nursing staff on NHS wards could lead to a higher risk of more patients dying in hospital, according to the nursing research unit which carried out the analysis.

Jane Ball, deputy director of the National Nursing Research Unit at King’s College London, who led the research, said:

I would have hoped that less than 10 per cent of wards would be at these danger levels.

We should all be gravely concerned about this. It’s not simply that nurses aren’t able to talk to patients and comfort people, it’s about levels of surveillance. Having fewer skilled people to keep an eye on patients can ultimately lead to a higher risk of them dying in hospital.

Read: New analysis shows shortage of nurses on NHS wards

New analysis shows shortage of nurses on NHS wards

Figures suggest that 43 per cent of NHS wards have only one nurse for every eight patients.
Figures suggest that 43 per cent of NHS wards have only one nurse for every eight patients. Credit: ITV News

Hundreds of hospitals do not have enough nurses to care for patients properly, according to analysis of staffing levels by The Times.

Research found that 43 per cent of NHS wards have only one nurse for every eight patients, a figure flagged up in the "red zone" of a recent government safety report.

Experts have also warned that elderly care statistics showing on average more than 9.1 patients per nurse, could compromise care.

Today, MPs called for the number of nurses on duty in every English hospital ward should be collected daily and published to help prevent a repeat of the Stafford hospital scandal.