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Staff Shortages Compromising Patient Care, Say Nurses
Date Posted: 03/Oct/2017
More than half of nurses in Scotland do not have enough time to provide the level of care they would like, a survey has found. Almost half said care was not at the level they would want to receive as a patient. The findings were drawn from a survey on staffing levels conducted by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN). The organisation questioned nursing staff across the UK - including 3323 in Scotland - about their experiences on recent shifts.
Preliminary findings released in July revealed that half of respondents in Scotland reported patient care was compromised on their most recent shift due to staffing shortages.
The full survey results also show 54% of nurses did not have enough time to provide the level of care they would like, while 38% did not feel satisfied with the quality of care.
Asked if the care was at the level they would wish receive as a patient, 46% disagreed.
A third - 34% - of those surveyed said lack of time had resulted in them leaving necessary care undone.
Meanwhile, 61% said they worked additional time on their shift - on average an extra 46 minutes.
The RCN is calling for new legislation in each part of the UK that guarantees safe and effective levels of nursing staff alongside increased funding and pay.
Last year, the organisation welcomed Scottish Government proposals to enshrine minimum NHS staffing levels in law, but said it would only work if backed up with funding for extra staff.
Theresa Fyffe, director of the RCN in Scotland, said: "Nursing staff are blowing the whistle on how just how untenable the situation is for them and for the people they care for.
"For too long the concerns of Scotland's nursing teams have been ignored and the care of patients in hospitals and in their own homes has suffered as a result.
"This report shows the strength of feeling that there is amongst nurses and health care support workers who want to deliver the very best care to patients, but come up against the realities of workforce pressures on every shift."
She added: "The Scottish Government has the opportunity with its proposed safe staffing legislation to address these challenges and to safeguard nursing in Scotland for generations to come."
Opposition parties said the findings revealed the scale of understaffing across Scotland's health boards.
Green MSP Alison Johnstone said: "This survey is a wake-up call for the Scottish Government, with staff and patients clearly suffering because of understaffing.
"Any legislation on this issue must deliver power to ensure safe and sustainable staffing. It's clear the current situation cannot continue."
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