Just over half of wards in England have nurse to patient ratios considered safe by nursing campaigners, suggests data revealed this week.
A survey by the National Nursing Research Unit suggested 43% of wards had a ratio higher than the campaigner’s benchmark of eight patients to every registered nurse. Meanwhile 18% had one nurse for every 10 patients.
The research was led by the unit’s deputy director Jane Ball and involved 3,000 nurses working on 413 wards at 46 hospitals.
It was commissioned by The Times newspaper, which published the results on Wednesday.
The Safe Staffing Alliance issued a warning in May that patient care was unsafe on wards where nurses were looking after more than eight patients each, which it said was based on evidence from Southampton University and the NNRU, which is based at King’s College London.
The alliance includes the Royal College of Nursing, Unison, the Patients Association and a number of senior nurses.
Further research published by the NNRU in July found more than eight out of 10 hospital nurses had to leave care undone on their last shift because of staffing shortages.
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