The Royal College of Nursing says that 90% of England's largest NHS Hospitals are short of Nursing staff and supplementing them with unregistered staff.
The RCN says the data demonstrates that NHS hospitals are supplementing Registered Nurses by putting more unregistered staff on shift. They explain that with the situation is worse at night when two-thirds of the largest hospital trusts put more health care assistants on the wards than planned.
These findings support the RCN's recent research highlighting 40,000 nurse vacancies across the NHS in England despite NHS Digital only having adverts for 11,500 vacancies.
Janet Davies, RCN Chief Executive, said the findings showed patients were being put at risk and called on the Government to increase the number of nurses.
“These startling figures show that, despite the Government’s rhetoric, our largest hospitals still do not have enough nurses and that is putting patients at risk.
“In light of this, the Government must redouble its efforts to train and recruit more qualified nurses and stop haemorrhaging the experienced ones who are fed up, undervalued and burning out fast.”
Janet went on to add it is unreasonable to expect unregistered staff to fill staffing gaps.
“It is unfair on the healthcare assistants too – they should not be left in a situation they have not been trained to handle.
“Nurses have degrees and expert training and, to be blunt, the evidence shows patients stand a better chance of survival and recovery when there are more of them on the ward.