59% of nurses think staff levels are poor
ALMOST two thirds of Northern Ireland nurses think staffing Levels are ‘poor,’ according to the trade union Unison.
Unison NI Nurses Forum, published research findings yesterday from ‘Stretched on the Front Line - Who Really Cares?’ which shows that 59 per cent of nurses across all trusts and nursing bands perceive staffing levels as ‘poor’.
Two thousand nurses from across the five Health Trusts in Northern Ireland participated in the survey, which was conducted in June and July 2012.
Anne Speed, UNISON NI said: “The fact that 59 per cent of respondents expressed concern that staffing levels are ‘poor’ is extremely worrying. For many working within the health sector, this won’t be a revelation, for them it is simply reflective of the ongoing cuts that are being made to nursing jobs across Northern Ireland.
“Since December 2009, the nursing workforce has decreased by 2 per cent with a further 500 posts expected to be cut by 2013. The number of District Nurses has also fallen by 8 per cent over the past two years.”
She continued: “It is patient care that is suffering as a result of these cuts. In UNISON’s 2010 report “Care in the Balance” it outlines that a minimum nurse to patient ratio saves lives and results in better patient care. Yet, this survey shows that 85 per cent of nurses across all Trusts and bands state that their workload is ‘heavier’ than three years ago.
“Over the past three years staff shortages, combined with changed skill or grade mix, has had a major impact, with fewer nurses treating more patients. Nursing staff are stretched to the limit. Whilst patient dependency has increased, staffing levels on the wards have not matched this.”
In the coming weeks, employees from UNISON will be raising the findings of the research with elected representatives from across Northern Ireland.
To view a copy of the research ‘Stretched on the Front Line – Who Really Cares?’ please see the document attached alternatively you can request a copy of the publication by telephoning 02890 270190.
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