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Unison urges nurses to take part in staffing ratio survey


Nursing staff are being asked to record the nurse-to-patient ratio on their ward 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 6 March by asking nurses working on that day to record and submit data about their shift.

Unison has created a worksheet (see attached, right) for nurses to print off and record information on staffing levels during shifts taking place between midnight on 5 March and midnight on 6 March. This data should then be entered into an online survey.

The union said the survey had been sparked by an increasing number of nurses raising concerns that nurse-to-patient ratios were having a negative impact on patient safety, combined with the “media frenzy” surrounding the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust public inquiry, which is due to report later this year.

With the exception of a small community survey in Scotland a number of years ago, the union said no one had attempted a similar piece of research before.

Unison head of nursing Gail Adams called on nurses to be part of a “historic campaign” by taking part in the survey.

She said: “We think it’s a good time to check what nurse-to-patient ratios really are.

“This has never been done before,” she added. “No one has ever conducted a one-day check-in across the service to find out how units are being staffed.”

Nurses must submit their data via the online survey by Friday 16 March. The results will be announced at the Unison health conference at the end of April.


How to take part:

  • Print off a copy of the worksheet attached (see right) to find out what information is needed and use it to record details of your shift on 6 March
  • After the shift has ended, go to the survey web page and enter the data from the worksheet. This must be done by 16 March

Readers' comments (5)

  • Dear NT
    Please report on the outcome of this survey. Thank you.

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  • is there a reason the survey is being carried out on the eve of the NHS rally when more staff may have taken time off to travel to London?

    Hopefully the results of this survey are going to be an honest representation of the nurse:patient ratio!!!!

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  • The date of the rally has nothing to do with this. Anyone who works as a nurse knows about rostering and only a certain number of nurses can be off at the same time. Its ludicrous to suggest otherwise. We have to request days off and book annual leave three months in advance. I hope that enough nurses complete the survey as the general public need to know whats happening to the NHS. The current plans will only make this worse.

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  • tinkerbell

    dino-nurse | 7-Mar-2012 2:05 pm

    totally agree. I am lucky that i have today off and am attending the rally. My off duty is done 6 weeks in advance. Unison is trying to get staff patient ratio in a timely manner that's all. Not everything is a conspiracy, the union is trying to help nurses improve nurse patient ratio. Shouldn't we all be glad about that.

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  • Little One

    Tried to complete the survey from a student point of view twice so far today, won't let me get past 75% of the online survey and questions. Just like everything else it appears to be broken!

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