Some hospital nurses will be asked to complete a staffing survey after every shift as part of a new campaign hoping to expose and tackle unsafe staffing levels.
The campaign by the union Unison called ‘Only Enough is Enough’ will launch across six pilot areas in Birmingham, Cambridge, Cardiff, Cornwall, Liverpool and South Wales this autumn.
Staff working across hospitals in these areas, including nurses and midwives, will be asked to log any workforce shortages and subsequent problems this has caused after every shift.
Local Unison branches will use the data recorded to hold hospitals ‘to account and push for new measures to recruit and retain staff’, the union said.
Unison national officer for nursing Stuart Tuckwood said: ‘For far too long many hospitals have been unable to provide enough staff with the time they need to deliver quality patient care.
‘The union’s campaign aims to shine a light on problem areas and give local healthcare workers the tools they need to secure proper staffing levels.’
Nurse and Unison Royal Gwent Hospital branch secretary Andrea Prince said: ‘I have been a nurse for 36 years and in the last decade I have seen staffing levels really deteriorate.
‘Agency staff are essential just to maintain the current poor staffing levels.
‘If we don’t act together now, this issue is going to get worse. Safe staffing levels are absolutely vital for the NHS.’
As of July 2023, there were 16,952 FTE nurses working across general practices in England – up by 1.6% (265) on July 2022.