Data obtained by the RCN via a freedom of information request found five hospitals from 18 trusts in the east of England had wards with only one registered nurse on duty. This was compared with their establishment of two registered nurses and one healthcare assistant.
The RCN report said having only one nurse on duty would “result in delays for patients receiving pain relief and intravenous fluids” and outcomes for patients on such wards should have been recorded as “near-miss clinical incidents”.
Their investigation was sparked by anecdotal evidence from members of the public who said nurses in some hospitals “were looking after wards single-handedly with only a healthcare assistant in support” and “covering at night to support inexperienced junior doctors” because there was not enough senior-level supervision.
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