New survey reveals nurses ‘lack time for patient care’

Four out of five nurses do not think they are being given enough time to give patients adequate care.

Eighty-two percent of nurses are so busy that they don’t have enough time to give an acceptable level of care, according to a new poll.

The survey, conducted by ITV’s Good Morning Britain and the Nursing Times, also found that a quarter of nurses feel as though they have put a patient’s life at risk because they are too busy and overworked.

The poll of 1,800 nurses working around the UK found that they were concerned by staff shortages and being given too much paper work to do.

Meanwhile two thirds said they were worried about the level of care that their place of work gives to patients outside of normal office hours.

And 88% said that the Government should introduce a mandatory minimum nurse to patient ratio.

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing , said: “This survey will sadly come as no surprise to nurses. Our members tell us that they are working extra hours just to get the essentials done but the NHS can’t function on goodwill and commitment alone.

“Nurses want to come to work and make a difference. It is hugely demoralising, not to mention potentially unsafe, if staff can’t deliver for all their patients.

“There is evidence of hospitals heeding the warnings of the Francis report and taking on more staff, but this is from a very low base at a time when demands are rising fast.”

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “The NHS now has the highest ever number of professionally qualified clinical staff since census records began. It’s clear that the Francis report has already had an effect, with over 5,100 more acute, elderly and general nurses on our wards since 2010, greater transparency and compassionate care replacing tick-box targets.

“We know that the NHS is under pressure due to rising demands, and nurses are working hard to care for their patients. We are investing £100 million in technology that will help nurses free up time to care.

“The latest staff survey, which includes the views of 203,000 staff, showed that this year more staff would recommend the NHS as a place to work and more staff would want friends and relatives to be treated where they work.”