NHS staff shortages are compromising patient care

New report from the Royal College of Nursing calls for urgent review of Nurse staffing levels to ensure patient safety this winter. 

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Image source: http://www.rcn.org.uk

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has today published a report, Safe and Effective Staffing: Nursing Against the Odds which shows the results of a recent staff survey. The survey, carried out in May 2017  reveals more than half (55%) say shifts did not have the level of nurses planned, and that shortages were compromising patient care (53% ).

Nursing staff in all four UK countries were asked about staffing levels on their most recent shift and the quality of care provided. More than a third (36%) report having to leave elements of patient care undone due to a lack of time, while two thirds (65%) work an unpaid extra hour on average.

Seven in 10 nurses (71%) in England said their last daytime shift exceeded NICE guidelines, which states that more than eight patients to one nurse should act as a ‘red flag’. A quarter (26%) reported shifts with 14 or more patients per nurse.

The respondents also reported that:

  • patients are no longer afforded enough dignity, even dying alone;
  • colleagues have burned out and have become sick themselves, unable to come to work;
  • staff leave work “sobbing” at the impact of shortages on patient care;
  • many question their future in nursing and contemplate leaving the profession;
  • they struggle to give their children and families enough support after shifts that can exceed 12 hours.

Full report: Safe and Effective Staffing: Nursing Against the Odds

Royal College of Nursing: Urgent action needed to tackle staffing crisis

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Standards for general practice nurses

General Practice Nurse Standards: voluntary standards for education and practice | The Queen’s Nursing Institute 

The Queen’s Nursing Institute has launched General Practice Nurse Standards: voluntary standards for education and practice.  The standards have been designed to reflect the requirements of this role, working in new models of care and to reflect the rapid changes in the primary care environment.

Download: QNI/QNIS GPN Voluntary Standards Project Information

The Recruitment, Retention And Return Of Nurses To General Practice Nursing In England

This report, authored by Ipsos MORI, outlines the findings of qualitative research into the drivers and barriers to entry into general practice nursing (GPN) | NHS England

NHS Framework Documant 2008

It finds that the general perception is that general practice is more suitable for older or more experienced nurses. As student placements in general practice are rare, there is a lack of opportunity for students to develop an understanding of the GPN role. The research also highlights the need for greater support for GPNs and the lack of standardisation in pay for GPN roles.

General Practice Nursing – Developing confidence, capability and capacity

This Ten Point Action Plan for General Practice Nursing, describes the nursing element of the General Practice Forward View (GPFV) | NHS England

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Image source: NHS England

The GPN ten point action plan sets out the measures required to bring about the changes that are needed, which will be taken forward by NHS England, Health Education England, NHS Improvement, Public Health England, The Royal College of Nursing, The Royal College of General Practitioners, The Queens Nursing Institute and The British Medical Association. These organisations will support commissioners and providers to implement the actions at local level. Delivery of this Ten Point Action Plan at a local level will be supported by one of four Regional GPN Delivery Boards.

General practice at scale and new care models provide fresh opportunities for supporting general practice nurses to develop skills and advance their careers. This will assist recruitment and retention which will in turn ease GPs’ workload as well as improving the experience of care for individuals, the outcomes of care and treatment, the use of NHS resources and staff experience.

Nursing associate trainee case studies

Some 2,000 nursing associates are currently in training across England. This page features case studies of trainees embarking on their nursing associate careers | HEE

Below is a video featuring Leanne Roberts, a trainee in Devon and Exeter, who talks about what she wants to get out of training to become a nursing associate.

Leanne is one of dozens of trainees that have started the exciting new training programme in hospitals and care homes across Devon.

View all the case studies here

New figures show an increase in numbers of nurses and midwives leaving the professions

New figures show an increase in the number of nurses and midwives leaving our register while at the same time, numbers joining have slowed down. This has resulted in an overall reduction in the numbers of nurses and midwives registered to work in the UK | NMC

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Image source: Danni Atherton – Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Recently public attention has focused on the reducing number of EU nurses and midwives joining our register. But today’s figures show that it is mainly UK nurses and midwives who are leaving the register, resulting in the overall downward trend.

For the first time in recent history the numbers leaving are now outstripping the numbers joining with this trend most pronounced for UK nurses and midwives who make up around 85 per cent of the register. Between 2016 and 2017, 45 per cent more UK registrants left the register than joined it for the first time.

Data also seems to show that more nurses and midwives are leaving the register before retirement age with a noticeable increase in those aged under 40 leaving.

Earlier this month we conducted a survey of more than 4,500 nurses and midwives who left the register over the previous 12 months. Excluding retirement, the top reasons given included working conditions, (including issues such as staffing levels), a change in personal circumstances (such as ill health or caring responsibilities) and a disillusionment with the quality of care provided to patients

Government ‘reneging on promise to fund 10,000 extra nursing places’

Scrapping nursing bursaries was supposed to expand training places – but that pledge has been quietly dropped, universities say | The Guardian

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Universities are warning that the government is quietly reneging on its promise to provide 10,000 new nursing degree places, intended to relieve pressure on the NHS.

Student nurses must spend 50% of their degree working under supervision, usually in a hospital. But universities have told Education Guardian that not a single extra nursing training place has been funded or allocated for the future. It would cost £15m over five years to fund training placements for 10,000 new nurses, according to the Council of Deans of Health, the body that represents university faculties of nursing.

Applications to study nursing in the new 2017-18 academic year have slumped by 23% compared with last year, after the abolition of bursaries. The government said last year it would free up £800m and pay for an extra 10,000 places by ending bursaries and shifting student nurses to the standard system of £9,000-a-year tuition fees supported by loans. Angry academics now say this was a hollow promise.

Read the full news story here