A new survey found a significant decline in the quality of patient care and wellbeing of nurses and midwives in England.
The NHS Staff Survey revealed only 61.8% of NHS nurses and midwives said they would be happy with the standard of care provided by their organisation if a friend or relative needed treatment.
This is a 12% fall in two years and highlights how staff shortage pressures in the NHS are affecting quality of patient care.
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Patricia Marquis, RCN director for England said: ‘Chronic staff shortages create stress and suffering for everyone in health care, day after day, week after week, it is patients that ultimately feel the impact of these compounding pressures.
‘These findings lay bare not only the intensifying staffing crisis in our NHS, but the devastation that is waiting in the wings if action is not taken quickly.’
The results also showed that only 21.3% of staff reported that there were enough staff at their organisation for them to do their job properly which is a 12.1% decrease from the 2020 survey.
‘With 124,000 vacant posts, including over 40,000 vacancies in nursing, it is also not unexpected that there has also been a fall in the number of staff who say there are enough of them to do their jobs properly,’ said Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers.
He warned: ‘Until staff know help is coming, their overall satisfaction with the NHS will not improve.’
Pressures caused by staff shortages is also affecting the health and wellbeing of staff.
The survey found that just over half of respondents felt unwell because of work-related stress in the last 12 months, while two-fifths said they felt burnt out.
This has created risks to staff and patient safety with 44.8% responding that they had seen errors, near misses or incidents that could have hurt staff and patients in the last month.
The national director for people, Em Wilkinson-Brice responded with: ‘The survey results sadly show a decrease in satisfaction and while it does show improvement in people feeling supported by their line manager and that staff have more opportunities to develop in their careers than last year, we know more needs to be done.
‘So the NHS is supporting organisations and systems to focus on those things staff tell us matter to them, such as flexible working, line management, leadership development and career pathways within a compassionate and inclusive culture.’