Safe staff-to-patient ratio is essential

Posted on: 3rd December 2012

Commenting on the Dr Foster report which will form part of a Panorama programme this evening on beds crisis in acute hospitals, Liberal Democrat MP on the Health Select Committee (and MP for the West Cornwall and Isles of Scilly constituency of St Ives) Andrew George, will press Government Ministers for the introduction of safe registered nursing staff-to-patient ratios on hospital wards.

Mr George raised the question again in the Commons last week.  He has long argued that inadequate staff-to-patient ratios are contributing significantly to many
health risks for inpatients.

Mr George said, “Until the Government is able to invest up front in primary care to ensure that hospital admissions are effectively avoided, registered nursing staff-to-patient ratios on our acute hospital wards must be a priority.

“Government excuses are wearing thin.  Ministers argue that mandatory staff-to-patient ratios would result in “a race to the bottom”, but that exactly what’s happening in many NHS hospitals now as budget driven staff cuts and very high bed occupancy levels stretch staff to breaking point.”