Nursing numbers 'should be checked daily', say agroup of cross-party MPs
More than half of nurses think their ward or unit is dangerously understaffed, a Nursing Times survey revealed today.
The NHS is looking into revelations that 8,000 patients a week, some elderly and vulnerable, are being sent home from hospital overnight.
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.
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.
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.
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.
– Andy Burnham MP, Shadow Health Secretary
Labour has warned for months of the growing crisis in accident and emergency units across England. Now that the head of the Government's own watchdog has confirmed it, ministers can't continue to ignore it.
It's becoming clearer by the day that emergency care is in crisis, yet the Queen's Speech had nothing to say about the growing pressures on the NHS.
The NHS has been dragged down by a toxic mix of cuts and re-organisation.
David Prior, who was brought in to lead the Care Quality Commission in January after it faced criticism for failing to protect vulnerable patients, said that almost half of hospitals were now providing care which was either poor, or "not terribly" good.
He said the CQC had found 45 hospitals with problems dating back five years, and vowed that from now on regulators will take a "much clearer" approach in advising which hospitals should not be allowed to continue as they are.
We will be outside the system and the politics - we will have a huge role in the reconfiguration debate because we are independent.
Demand on NHS accident and emergency departments is "out of control" and "totally unsustainable", the head of the health and social care regulator in England has warned.
David Prior, chairman of the Care Quality Commission (CQC), said there should be widespread closures of hospital beds and investment in community care to tackle the increasing burden on emergency care.
Mr Prior said that far too many patients were arriving at hospital as emergency cases, a crisis which could be averted by earlier intervention through care in the community.
Speaking a conference hosted by health think tank the King's Fund, Mr Prior said: "If we don't start closing acute beds, the system is going to fall over.
"Emergency admissions through Accident and Emergency are out of control in large parts of the country...That is totally unsustainable."
The son of a man who died from a fatal overdose given by a foreign doctor, has told ITV News that he welcomes new language measures.
Dr Stuart Gray's father died in 2008, after a German doctor – who had already failed an English test – gave him ten times the required amount of painkillers for kidney pain.
"It's common sense. This is five years too late, but at least action is now being taken," said Dr Stuart Gray.
Those coming to the UK from outside the EU already face strict language tests. However, new measures will mean all doctors wanting to practice in the UK will now need to pass a language assessment.
The new checks were announced after cases in which foreign doctors were said to have provided sub-standard care.
In the latest in ITV News' series of reports, From The Heart focuses on the extraordinary medical technology that keeps patients alive - while they wait for the heart transplant they so desperately need.
As ITV News' medical editor Lawrence McGinty reports from Papworth Hospital, the shortage of donors means that it is sometimes a long wait:
Royal College of Nursing (RCN) director Janet Davies told the BBC the findings were "very concerning but not surprising - we have been hearing about this for some time from nurses".
She added: "What we are finding is the pressures, particularly in hospitals and community areas, are getting greater as we have got more patients who are sicker coming through the system.
"We are seeing nursing posts frozen or cut in order to try and balance the books, it's obviously something we have been looking at for some time."