A new survey has shown that the majority of people in the UK are convinced that more needs to be done to bolster the hiring of nursing staff.
The report, compiled by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), has revealed that three-quarters of people in Britain believe that currently there are not enough nurses available within the NHS to provide effective care for patients, which may be damaging confidence in the health service.
Moreover, those surveyed in England said employing more nurses should be seen as the government's top priority for the NHS if extra funding can be found, with one-third of those polled selecting this as the single most important area for NHS investment from a list of seven possible spending priorities.
The RCN report also analysed the views of current nurses and healthcare assistants, revealing that many are concerned that a lack of future investment in recruitment may lead to a lack of time to provide patients with the standard of care they expect, partly due to the amount of time that needs to be spent on non-nursing duties.
Issues have also been highlighted about the skill mix of nursing staff, suggesting that recruitment efforts need to focus on certain areas over others. The RCN will be launching a campaign later this autumn to call for safe staffing levels and accountability to be set in law for every part of the UK.
RCN chief executive Janet Davies said: "The reason we have so many vacancies is because of short-sighted cost-cutting in past years, and ineffective workforce planning based on affordability rather than the real needs of our population."
She added: "This situation results from a failure of politicians and policymakers - with an inability to recognise the value of nursing, an unwillingness to listen to those who are working in the service, and a lack of political will to address it."
Written by James Puckle
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