Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Nursing staffing level survey

UNISON is being informed by more and more nurses that they are concerned about nurse-to-patient ratios and the effect of these on patient safety.

We are constantly hearing in the media how bad nursing care is but few pay attention to the circumstances that affect patient care such as poor staffing levels.

There are no nationally agreed staffing levels or nurse patient ratios other than in ITU, where the Royal College of Anaesthetists have clear protocols.

UNISON has developed an online survey which will tell us not only what the staffing levels are
but also the number of patients and the impact on care. We are aiming to publish the findings
on the 24th April at the annual UNISON Health Conference.

Are you working on 6 March?
We are asking all members of the nursing family who are working on any shift over a 24 hour
period to tell us what their staffing levels were like from midnight on Tuesday 6th March.

We are also asking you to make some notes on how your shift was staffed. Use the worksheet
available at: http://www.unison.org.uk/file/A5826.pdf to find out what you need to fill in.

After your shift that day, go to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/nursingratios and enter the notes you took. This web survey will close on Friday 16 March, so make sure you get your data for March 6 entered before the closing date.

All nurses can take part in the survey. You do not need to be a UNISON member – this issue affects everyone. RCN members are welcome.

We know staffing levels are already dangerously low in some places. When UNISON approached managers to arrange emergency cover for the November 30th Day of Action, some managers requested ‘minimum cover’ that was actually more than that on a normal day! We also know that low staffing levels often mean a decrease in the quality of patient care and an increase in work-related stress and absence for staff.

When the results are available they will also be published in UNISON News and our website. Thanks in advance