Our response to the Royal College of Nursing's campaign for safe staffing levels in England

The Royal College of Nursing has today launched a new campaign aimed a highlighting the need for safe staffing levels in England. Here we share our response.
Three people in a hospital corridor. Two people speaking to a nurse

Today, the Royal College of Nursing has launched a new campaign encouraging the public to speak out about of the impact of the shortage of nurses  across the NHS.

Nursing is a critically important part of health and social care. People have told Healthwatch across the country that NHS staff are often too busy to provide the empathetic care that the public should be able to expect.

In response to the campaign launch Healthwatch England Chair, Sir Robert Francis, said:

“Healthwatch evidence suggests the public’s patience with overstretched staffing and the impact this is having on care is starting to wear thin.

"People have rightly come to expect compassion and empathy from health and social care staff, and they should not have to adjust this expectation because of pressures on the NHS.

“To promote patient safety, it is also important that the public understand the difference between a busy ward and one that may be unsafe. This is an important message for those in charge of planning and scheduling of staff rotas to hear.

“One of the key ways of maintaining patient safety is to ensure there is an adequate number of staff on shift to attend to peoples’ clinical needs. Patients and the public also need to have access to real-time information about the number and type of staff required on any ward for it to be safe and the actual number on duty.

“Safe staffing is also about ensuring the right skill mix. Healthwatch wants to see health and social care organisations getting the right balance of professional skills and experience in the workplace.

Find out more

Find out more about the Royal College of Nursing's new campaign on safe staffing levels.

Find out more

Share your views

If people have legitimate concerns about a service having insufficient staffing levels that may be a risk to patient safety, we want them to feel confident in speaking up, either directly with the service, CQC or with Healthwatch.

Speak to your local Healthwatch

Share your thoughts

You can help make health and care services better by sharing your experiences and ideas. Talk to your local Healthwatch.

Find your nearest Healthwatch