The RCN will lobby to ensure there is adequate staffing on wards following a motion passed at RCN Congress.
Submitted by Marie Hannah, of the RCN’s Cumbria Branch, the motion argued that the NHS financial deficit crisis in 2006/07 led to a reduction in the numbers of registered nurses. It raised concerns that the recession will lead to a similar situation.
The motion warned that rules setting mandatory nurse/patient ratios are often interpreted as the maximum level for practice.
Ms Hannah said: ‘If the skill mix is reduced it is not long before you see the impact on patient care.’
Catriona Forsyth, an RCN UK health and safety representative, said: ‘How many wards have staff in the right place at the right time, with the right patient?’
The motion was agreed with 99% of the vote.