The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence watchdog has warned that NHS under-staffing is a threat to patients’ safety, and is calling for a 1:8 ratio of nurses to patients.
According to Nice’s “report found understaffing at Stafford hospital, caused by cost-cutting by the trust, had contributed directly to what a previous official inquiry called ‘ appalling care’ which led to patients dying and suffering serious harm.”
The recommendation will increase pressure on hospitals to hire more nurses to tackle shortages, and cuts against the government’s reluctance to introduce mandatory minimum staffing levels.
The Royal College of Nurses (RCN) has said that 20,000 new nurses are needed urgently.
The 4:1 campaign, supported by Unite, is calling for a mandatory 1:4 ratio, a demand recently endorsed by Unison’s Health Conference.
Unions and health campaigners should pressure Labour to commit to rebuild the health service, with funding for nurses based on patients’ needs.