A campaign has been set up to lobby government to introduce a mandatory minimum staffing ratio of four patients to each registered nurse.
Members of the 4:1 Campaign said they were “acutely aware of the pressures experienced by staff everyday through understaffing and the negative consequences this has on direct patient care and experience”.
“We believe a mandatory minimum staffing ratio of 4:1 should be introduced by the government to ensure that patients are cared for safely and effectively,” they state in a letter to Nursing Times.
“Research articulating the link between high patient-nurse ratios and poor patient health outcomes is strong and the experience of 1:4 ratios from California and the Australian state of Victoria demonstrate the immense benefits to patients and hospital staff where mandatory staffing ratios have been implemented,” they add.
The campaign has been set up by a group of nurses in London but has a growing support across the country, a spokesman told Nursing Times. Members of its founding committee include both newly-qualified and experienced nurses, and also healthcare assistants.
It follows similar calls from the Safe Staffing Alliance, which was set up last summer and wants a minimum ratio of eight patients to every nurse. The group’s members include the Royal College of Nursing, Unison and the Patients Association.
The Francis report recommended minimum staffing levels be drawn up for each specialty, but stopped short of calling for an overall mandatory staffing level. The government has consistently rejected introducing a mandatory minimum nursing ratio, arguing that local flexibility is needed.
- Read the full letter to Nursing Times from the 4:1 Campaign.
- The group have also started a petition on the parliament website with the aim of gaining attention for their campaign from MPs.