Replacing Nurses Puts Patients At Risk
A report published yesterday showed a dramatic link between the number of skilled staff and the risk of death in hospital. The study had investigated the effects of replacing skilled nurses with healthcare assistants.
It concluded that doing so increased the risk of mortality, poor quality care, poor safety grades and reduced the ratings given to the hospitals by patients. Whilst this in of itself is not surprising, what is striking is the extent of the effect. Replacing one healthcare assistant for one nurse for every 25 patients, resulted in a 21% increase in the risk of mortality.
It is current Government policy to create a new ‘nursing associate’ role within the NHS. The Government says that these are to complement, not replace nurses, but in a climate in which the NHs is looking for significant savings, the situation will need to be closely monitored to ensure that nursing levels do not begin to suffer.
The risk of inadequate staffing is critical. At Coffin Mew, we have dealt with many clinical negligence claims in Portsmouth and Southampton in which a lack of staffing has resulted in catastrophic consequences for patients and are all too aware of the impact that this can have on patients and their families.