57% of nurses believe wards are 'dangerously understaffed'

Over half of nurses say the ward they work on is "dangerously understaffed" according to a snapshot survey run by Nursing Times.

More nurses working in 'acute, general and elderly'

The Government has tried to distance itself from claims NHS wards are "dangerously understaffed".

A Department of Health spokesman said more nurses were now working in the the acute, general and elderly category.

NHS hospitals hired 2,400 more nurses in just 10 months after the Francis report.

That means there are over 3,300 more nurses working on NHS hospital wards since May 2010. The Francis effect is well under way - real change is happening and care is being put right back at the heart of everything the NHS does.

Our plans mean that, for the first time, we will know how many doctors and nurses we need and how many we have, ward by ward.

And if hospitals do not have enough, the chief inspector will step in and take action. This is a huge step forward for patients.

– Department of Health spokesman

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57% of nurses feel staffing levels 'dangerously' low

Over half of working nurses think their wards are "dangerously unsafe" because of low staffing levels all or some of the time, according to a snapshot survey.

Read: Nurses 'financially struggling'

Nurses
Almost 60% of nursing staff feel patients are at risk because of low staffing levels. Credit: PA

The poll carried out for the Nursing Times magazine found 57% of the 526 nurses questioned believed their ward was dangerous for patients because there were too few staff.

A further 39% of nurses said staffing levels had worsened where they work over the last 12 months.

The findings come a year of the Francis Report into the failings at Stafford Hospital was published, after hundreds of people died needlessly due to neglect.

One nurse told the magazine: "Although my organisation has been recruiting more nursing staff they have been inexperienced and have had to be supervised, so in some cases have made matters harder."

Read: NHS patient safety pledge