Responding to new findings released today from the Royal College of Nursing on the impact of nursing staff shortages, Dr Layla McCay, director of policy at NHS Confederation, said:
“This is the latest in a long line of reports that lays bare the impact of staff shortages on the care patients are receiving. We urgently need the government to commit to producing a fully costed and funded workforce plan for the NHS to help close the gap on the 105,000 vacancies we now have.
“The impact of these staff shortages is real. More than eight in ten nurses said staffing levels on their last shift were not enough to meet the needs of patients and that only a quarter of shifts had the planned number of registered nurses. NHS leaders have long been concerned that chronic staff shortages are undermining our efforts to tackle the care backlog and respond to rapidly rising demand for care.
“This report once again reveals how exhausted and burnt out many nurses are. Many are choosing to leave the NHS at a time when every staff member is so important to the service’s recovery. The health and wellbeing of staff and patients is the primary concern for NHS leaders but they are being let down by a lack of government action on the workforce crisis we are experiencing.
“NHS leaders are asking the Government to urgently publish a fully funded, long-term workforce plan to fill these gaps and make sure the NHS can care for and meet the needs of its patients as safely as possible. As part of this, we need to see more funding and support for training and professional development for staff and we also need to see a pay rise for NHS staff, especially for those on lower pay bands. Until these are forthcoming, the government must be honest with the public about what people can expect from the NHS during this period of strain.”