Nurse staffing levels 'linked to patient mortality rates'

Pharmaceutical Government/ NHS related news

New research has suggested that hospital wards with lower nurse staffing levels tend to have higher patient mortality rates.

Published in PLOS Medicine, the UK study revealed that stroke patients are 35 percent more likely to die on wards with fewer nurses on duty at weekends, with deaths tending to be highest among stroke units where there was just one nurse for every ten patient beds.

“A new study has revealed strong evidence linking nurse staffing levels to patient mortality rates.“

The research was welcomed by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) as providing further evidence of the need for more nursing staff to be hired within the NHS.

Studies carried out by the RCN have suggested there are around 20,000 vacant nursing posts in England alone, with many hospitals struggling to fill posts.

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, said: "Driving up standards of patient care in the NHS requires commitment to investing in the nursing workforce. We're worried that this isn't happening."

The government introduced new safe staffing laws in April 2014 with the aim of ensuring that hospital wards always have the right balance of manpower to provide high-quality care.

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