Nursing staff, including midwives, are being asked to record the nurse-to-patient ratio on their ward today, as part of a major national survey by Unison.
The union wants to capture a snapshot of nurse-to-patient ratios across the country on 10 February by asking nurses working on that day to record and submit data about their shift.
Unison has created guidance for nurses to print off and record information on staffing levels during shifts taking place on Tuesday 10 February. This data should then be entered into an online survey.
“Research tells us that that if you are looking after eight or more patients that harm is occurring”
The union has carried out similar research in the previous three years, but today’s survey will be the first undertaken since the introduction of guidance on safe nurse staffing levels by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and new rules on workforce transparency from NHS England.
Unison head of nursing Gail Adams said: “Worryingly, last year’s survey revealed that there were not enough staff available to deliver all elements of safe, dignified and compassionate care.”
“NICE guidance in England and mandatory tools in Scotland and Wales were introduced this year in response to staffing level concerns. We want to hear from nurses about the impact these measures have had,” she added.
The survey is open to all nurses whether they are a Unison member or not, said the union. Nurses must submit their data via the online survey by 9am on Monday 16 February for their data to be included in the results.
Last year’s version of the survey found nearly half of nurses believed their organisation was at risk of becoming the “next Mid Staffs”, or was already heading that way.