Most nurses working in Scotland are unhappy with the quality of patient care - and many believe inadequate staffing levels are to blame, according to new research.
Some 54% of nurses are prevented from providing patient care with dignity to a standard they are happy with, according to the poll for the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).
And three-quarters (76%) of nurses who were unhappy with standards in dignified patient care said they believed this was because there were not enough staff.
Other reasons cited included not enough time (72%) and physical environment of the workplace (28%).
The survey was published to coincide with the launch of Nursing Scotland’s Future, RCN Scotland’s campaign to get the next Scottish government to improve health services and patient care.
RCN Scotland director Theresa Fyffe said: “Over half of our members are unable to deliver care with dignity for patients to a standard they are happy with.
“Given that many health boards have pretty much stopped recruiting when nursing staff leave, it is extremely concerning that so many of our members say that there aren’t enough staff to allow them to provide dignified care. If health boards continue with their recruitment freeze, this problem will only get worse.”
RCN Scotland member Lisa Falconer added: “People become nurses because they want to make a difference by improving patients’ lives and providing high standards of care. However, many nurses feel prevented from delivering care to the standards they would like and this is particularly upsetting when it impacts on patient dignity.
“I believe that the next Scottish government needs to ensure that we have enough nursing staff to allow proper dignified care in Scotland’s hospitals and communities.”
A Scottish government spokeswoman said: “We have made clear to all health boards that patient care must be at the centre of their future service delivery and workforce needs.
“We have also given a guarantee that there will be no compulsory redundancies. By the end of this parliamentary session there will be more staff working in the NHS than there were at the start of it.”