The BBC reports that Nurses are “propping up” the NHS by repeatedly working more hours than contracted and providing last-minute shift cover, according to claims by the leading nursing union.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland said a survey of its members found just one in 10 felt there was enough staff where they worked.
The “snapshot” survey of 200 Scottish nurses was part of a UK-wide poll.
Royal College of Nursing Scotland released the figures on the eve of its annual congress.
Almost all nurses (96%) reported working in excess of their contracted hours, with more than a quarter (27%) saying they did this every shift.
Just 11% of respondents said that staffing levels at their place of work were quite good or very good, while more than a quarter said they provided last-minute cover for absentee staff at least fortnightly.
‘Patient safety could be compromised’, RCN
RCN Scotland said it was worrying if some nurses felt they did not have enough staff to deliver quality care. The union warned that patient safety could be compromised as a result.
The union’s director in Scotland, Theresa Fyffe, said: “The health and well-being of NHS staff is a major concern. If they become overstretched and stressed because they or colleagues are ill, there is a risk that poor practice can emerge.
“In Scotland, we are asking the next government to ensure that health boards implement the recommendations of the Boorman Review into NHS staff health and well-being.
“This is one way in which the NHS can begin to take better care of staff to allow staff to provide the standard of care they would like.”
When it came to working conditions, 29% of nurses said they missed their meal time at work at least three times a week, while one in six said they rarely or never took the breaks they were entitled to.
About one in five nurses said that in the past six months they had spent a week or more at work despite feeling too ill to be there. Source: BBC
Immigration Matters Comment
The RCN report confirms anecdotal evidence from Nurses on the front line. Immigration Matters has talked to a number of Nurses and Care Workers in the NHS (as well as the private sector) and they all say that they are under staffed. In some cases a member of staff is doing a job which a few years ago would have been done by two or three people.
Not so long ago Nurses and Carers were being recruited from overseas to fill ‘huge shortages’, and experts were warning that by 2010 large numbers of British Nurses would be retiring.
Yet today general Nurses and Care Workers are no longer deemed by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) which reports to the Home Office to be an official shortage occupation.
Meanwhile, countries like the Philippines, where almost every family pushes their children into nursing because of the expected demand abroad, has a huge surplus of unemployed Nurses.
Every year in the Philippines some 80,000 Nurses take the nursing board exam hoping that it will give them a passport to a better life overseas.
A nursing degree takes 4 years and passing the PRC board exam a further 6 months in the Philippines. Their families are responding to a massive historical demand five or six years ago from the USA and UK, which has since dried up.
They have invested their life savings in a dream which has sadly turned into a nightmare. Their Sons and Daughters are now joining the 300,000 unemployed nursing graduates unable to even obtain a paid for work placement in a hospital to gain much needed professional experience.
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