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The Patients Association Backs Calls for Openness about Staffing Levels

The Patients Association has today backed calls by the Health Select Committee for hospitals to be open and transparent about the number of staff they have available on wards to treat patients.

The Patients Association is part of the Safer Staffing Alliance which says that a one nurse-to-eight patient’s ratio should be regarded as a minimum acceptable level. However this benchmark is often being ignored by hospitals.

The report by the select committee has also called for greater openness and transparency in the complaints system and for an end to gagging clauses, both of which the Patients Association has called for in the past.  In its submission to the present complaints review the organisation highlighted a number of concerning patient experiences of the existing complaints system.

Speaking about today’s announcement by the Health Select Committee Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of the Patients Association said:

“Nurses need time to care for patients. It cannot get any simpler than that. Yet year after year patients are subjected to poor care. The Patients Association receives thousands of calls and emails detailing distressingly poor care, with nurses repeatedly complaining to patients and relatives that wards are chronically short staffed.

This cannot be allowed to continue, because both staff and patients are being let down. The Government urgently needs to adopt the Francis Report in full, including the adoption of safe staffing levels.

We also need to see real action taken to reform a complaints system which is almost universally believed to be not fit for purpose. Not just empty words and pledges, but tangible action.

Everybody knows what needs to be done and this is yet another report that confirms it. Action needs to be taken.”

Notes for Editor

  • The Patients Association is a campaigning charity, listening to patients and speaking up for change. It has been working for nearly 50 years to make sure that the patient voice is heard and listened to by policy makers.
  • We are an independent charity which people can join via www.patients-association.com
  • For further information or case studies please contact the Patients Association on 02084239111
  • To see previous comments we have made relating to staffing levels please visit http://www.patients-association.com/Default.aspx?tabid=80&Id=53
  • The Patients Association Helpline helps thousands of patients every year, on any issue relating to the Health and Social Care system. Its number is 08456 08 44 55. Please help us publicise our work by including our number in your report.

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