Healthcare workers say chronic understaffing means they unable to deliver safe, dignified and compassionate care.
Almost half of NHS workers on the front line say there are not enough staff on their shift to ensure patients are treated safely and with compassion, a new survey by UNISON reveals.
The snapshot survey Just Another Day examined attitudes and experiences for staff across the UK during one working day – the 24 hours of Tuesday 18 September 2018. The aim is to paint a picture of how staff felt about the pressures they were under.
Forty-five percent of respondents who were directly involved with patient care said there were not enough staff on their shift to deliver a safe, dignified and compassionate service.
The survey also revealed that staff working in acute hospitals, mental health, primary care and community care are hit the hardest by staffing shortages.
UNISON claims the survey highlights the effect of chronic understaffing in the health service.
Sara Gorton, UNISON Head of Health, said: “This survey shows the extent to which crisis level staffing has become normal across the whole NHS.
“These are long-term, systemic factors not being properly addressed. The government must give the system the funding needed to tackle these issues. But hearteningly it also shows the dedication and compassion these hard-working committed staff continue to show at the most trying times.”
The Royal College of Nursing says politicians should not ignore this warning.
Dame Donna Kinnair, Acting Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “Politicians cannot ignore this warning from thousands of NHS professionals. Nursing staff feel pushed to the brink but it is patients who pay a high price when we can’t provide the care they need.
“Promises to tackle the systemic workforce issue in England haven’t yet materialised. This is a further reminder of the urgent need to bring tens of thousands more people into nursing with real investment and agree a new law in England on safe staffing levels.”