Safe “nurse ratio” is high priority

Posted on: 20th August 2014

Health Select Committee Member and leading campaigner for safe registered nurse staffing in hospitals, Andrew George MP, is urging Ministers to take note of a report which shows that the number of nurses and the ratio of registered nurses to patients has a significant impact on the chances of survival of stroke patients.

Mr George, who has been working with the Safe Staffing Alliance (which includes members from the Nursing Standard, Royal College of Nursing and the Florence Nightingale Foundation) has consistently campaigned for the Government to introduce official guidelines on safe registered nurse staffing levels, including nurse to patient ratios on acute hospital wards.

The study found that the number of nurses available at weekends – but not the frequency of doctors’ ward rounds – affects a patient’s chances of survival after a stroke.

The study was conducted by PLOS Medicine, led by Dr Benjamin Bray of King’s College London.

Mr George said: “Senior Health Ministers and officials have, for years, batted away concerns about inadequate registered nurse staffing levels on hospital wards by using management babble. Claiming that it is more to do with ‘culture and leadership’ than numbers, has presented a smoke screen for long enough. Studies like this clearly show that you need to get the fundamentals right. If there are not enough registered nurses on the ward patient safety is compromised.”