Nursing leaders question 'unsafe' staffing levels

Patient care is unsafe on wards where each registered nurse is regularly looking after more than eight patients, according to nursing leaders.

Safe and Sound, the Safe Staffing Alliance, made up of senior expert nurses, says the 1:8 figure is based on hard evidence and they have issued new recommendations that under no circumstances should staffing be allowed to fall below that level.

A study by researchers at Southampton University, Kings College London and the National Nursing Research Unit found that hospitals with eight patients per registered nurse (during the day time on general acute wards) would see around 20 extra deaths a year more than better staffed hospitals.

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Nurse staffing at an 'unsafe' level

Patient care is unsafe on wards with each registered nurse regularly looking after more than eight patients, according to nursing leaders. Safe and Sound, the Safe Staffing Alliance, says the figure is based on hard evidence.