Safe staffing is for patient safety and to restore staff morale, not for Conservatives to attack nurses

Posted on: 5th January 2023
Without a hint of irony Conservative Ministers now declare themselves devotees of mandatory safe staffing levels in our hospitals. But only as a tool to attack staff who are striking largely because of the lack of safe staffing.
When I led a parliamentary campaign for safe NHS staffing, Conservative Ministers bluntly rejected it.
If we had mandatory safe registered nurse staffing on hospital wards (and throughout the health and care system) we wouldn’t have lost tens of thousands of valuable staff who reluctantly left through stress, because they could no longer cope with being over-worked and unsupported. We wouldn’t face this level of crisis – with 133,000 unfixed vacancies – if the Government had established safe staffing standards then. And staff wouldn’t be on strike.
Now the Conservatives have become (insincere) converts to safe staffing. Not because they care about safe staffing and the patient safety it would enable, but because they want to attack the very staff they’ve failed to support.
It’s difficult to find words to respond to such hypocrisy.
This picture was taken in Parliament a decade ago while we were lobbying Ministers and MPs about the safe staffing campaign, and on behalf of the Safe Staffing Alliance (including the RCN, Patients’ Association and the Florence Nightingale Foundation).