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Unions call for better NHS staffing levels following staff survey

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Unions have called for better staffing levels in the NHS following revelations in this year’s staff survey.

Nearly half (47%) of those staff responding to the Healthcare Commission survey said there were not enough staff to do their jobs properly.

They said that employers needed to address their concerns to prevent situations occuring like those in Mid-Staffordshire hospital, highlighted in a separate and highly critical Healthcare Commission report earlier this month.

Peter Carter, RCN general secretary and chief executive, said: ‘Employers now need to address the problems which we know make staff unhappy, as nearly half of staff said they would not recommend the NHS as a place to work. Forty-seven per cent of staff also said that there were not enough staff to do their jobs properly, and we have seen the devastating effects this can have on patients.

‘Only last week, the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust was criticised for putting money-saving measures ahead of safe patient care. If there are too few nurses and staff are putting in extra unpaid hours just to do the job, then it is no surprise that less than a third feel valued by their employers. Put simply, good nursing care needs enough nurses to deliver it, and understaffed wards put the lives of patients at risk.’

Karen Jennings, Unison head of health, said: ‘The recent revelations of poor practice in Mid Staffs also underline the importance of effective communication between staff and senior managers.  The Darzi review identified the need to develop leadership among NHS staff and for teams to work together to set and measure clear objectives.  The whole health team needs to be involved in making NHS services better for patients and with 74% of staff reporting this is not happening, there is clearly a gap that needs to be closed.’

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