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Nursing poll shows NHS is being 'plunged into peril'

Less than one in ten nurses say they can deliver safe, dignified, compassionate care “all of the time”.

A survey of more than 3000 nurses by trade union Unison shows the “major barriers” to delivering top quality patient care are staffing levels (85%), “unreasonable” workloads (72%), stress (36%)and service cuts (69%).

The poll found only 8% of nurses believe patient care has improved in the past year with 35% claiming standards have “fallen”.

Nearly three-quarters say that government cuts are affecting their work. 

In the face of frozen pay and pension reform only 4% of nurses feel respected by the government yet an “overwhelming” 82% feel respected by patients and their families.

“The NHS is being plunged into peril by government cuts and falling staff numbers coupled with an increasing demand for health services,” said Christina McAnea, head of health at Unison.

“Nurses know the NHS and they know when things are going wrong. They know that patients deserve to have top quality care all of the time - not some of the time, but this is all they feel able to deliver in this environment.

“The government needs to start listening to nurses and other health workers who are ringing alarm bells about the state of our NHS before it is too late.”

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing has urged the government to heed the warning from nurses in Unison's survey findings and claimed it is “clear that[government] cuts are having a massively detrimental impact on the NHS”.

Just over a quarter of nurses polled by Unison said they would recommend nursing as a profession.