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Nurses 'not spending enough time with patients' survey shows

Two thirds of nurses believe they do not spend enough time with patients, a survey has revealed. 

The survey of members of the trade union UNISON shows that 65% of staff did not have enough time with patients. And 55% reported that as a result care was left undone.  

Many (60%) felt that the number of staff working on the day resulted in a lower standard of care. 

The survey report - Running on Empty - exposes clear failings, UNISON believes.

Almost half (48%) of respondents described their organisation as either being at risk of a similar situation to Mid Staffs, or stated that it was already happening in parts, or across their hospital. 

Gail Adams, UNISON head of nursing, said: “One of the most damaging findings of this survey is how little has changed since last year.  Despite all the Government rhetoric, despite the Francis, Keogh and Cavendish reports, the spectre of another Mid Staffs still looms large over the NHS. Progress on safe staffing levels has been glacial and that means poorer care and patients still at risk. 

“It's clear that despite nurses working through breaks and beyond their hours, they simply do not have enough time to give patients the care and attention they need.  That is distressing for patients and for the staff trying to care for them.  The coalition government needs to face up to the damage it is inflicting on patients and staff, by not introducing legally enforceable nurse to patient ratios, and take urgent action.”

Key findings

 - Three quarters of all midwives and 71% of all nurses (general and mental health) said they did not have adequate time with each patient.

 - 59% of all nurses on a night shift said there were elements of care they were unable to give.

 - 92% supported minimum staffing levels, with 65% supporting a legally enforceable minimum.

 - 45% of staff were looking after 8 or more patients during their shift, this increased to 53% on night duty.

 - Only 24% of workplaces displayed indented number of staff on duty.

 - Just over half (51%) were not confident about raising concerns locally.