George steps up national campaign on safe nurse staffing in hospitals

Posted on: 15th January 2015

Local MP, Andrew George, is calling on his Parliamentary colleagues to get behind his campaign for safer registered nurse staffing levels on hospital wards.

The Safe Staffing Alliance – which includes the Royal College of Nursing, the Patients Association, the Florence Nightingale Foundation, Nursing Standard and the public sector union Unison – has highlighted that present arrangements mean that 45% of wards have unsafe staffing levels, putting lives at risk.

The Nursing Standard described Mr George as a “health guru” when welcoming his Parliamentary initiatives.

The Safe Staffing Alliance Manifesto, which is published this week, will be sent to all Members of Parliament and to political parties in advance of the forthcoming general election.  Following extensive research, the Alliance argues that if a ward has a registered nurse staffing level with less than one registered nurse to seven patients (excluding the nurse in charge) important parts of the nurse’s duties to those patients will be missed.

The Safe Staffing Alliance is calling on the Government to enforce a transparent safe staffing level of never more than one to seven during daytime shifts.

Mr George said “The Mid-Staffordshire Hospital Trust scandal and other examples of poor patient care have all happened in circumstances when registered nurse staffing levels have fallen below the levels recommended by professional nurse clinicians.  It is a false economy to cut registered nurse levels.  It results in poor patient outcomes, longer patient stays and more costs. That’s quite apart from the patient trauma, medical complications and avoidable deaths.  It is significant that it is not just trade union and nursing lobby groups that are calling for this, but the patients’ associations as well.

“If we are to improve patient outcomes in acute hospitals we must listen to our nurses.”