HEALTH MINISTERS URGED TO BACK “SAFE STAFFING” CAMPAIGN

A campaign, which has all party support, is urging Health Ministers to act on concerns that many hospital wards risk patient care because the numbers of registered nurses on duty is too low.

Health Select Committee Member and Safe Staffing campaigner, Andrew George MP, has tabled a Commons Motion, which has all party support, calling on the Government to “introduce new benchmark standards of safe registered nurse staffing on hospital wards.”

Mr George recently hosted a Commons event for the Safe Staffing Alliance which includes members from the Florence Nightingale Foundation, Royal College of Nursing, Unison and The Patients Association, and has built his campaign in the Commons over the last two years. Like the Safe Staffing Alliance, he believes that many of the most notorious incidents of poor hospital practice in recent years are either caused or made significantly worse by dangerously low numbers of registered nurses on hospital wards.

Recently, the author of the Inquiry Report into Mid Staffs Hospital, Robert Francis QC, indicated his support for the Safe Staffing Alliance campaign.

Mr George said: “There is compelling evidence of a link between registered nurse levels and the quality of patient outcomes on hospital wards.

“Too often health chiefs dismiss the importance of registered nurse numbers and instead place greater emphasis on “culture” and “leadership”. Well, you can have the most sophisticated culture and the most charismatic leaders, but if there aren’t enough nurses on the wards patients will be put at risk.”