Patients are dying alone in NHS hospitals because there are too few nurses to care for them, a new study revealed yesterday.
A Royal College of Nursing (RCN) survey of more than 30,000 nurses in England found many feeling stressed and burnt out, with a quarter saying they care for 14 patients or more at a time.
Nurses described sobbing at the end of shifts, patients being left to die alone when they have no family, and said managing the heavy caseload of patients was like “spinning plates.”
One in five nurses on a shift are temporary agency staff, the survey found, while 36 per cent of all nurses said they didn’t have time to perform essential patient care.
The RCN is calling for new legislation that guarantees safe levels of staffing.
RCN head Janet Davies said: “When this many professionals blow the whistle, they cannot be overlooked.
“The nursing shortage is biting hard and needs the attention of ministers — this warning comes from the very people they cannot afford to lose.
“The findings in this report are a direct result of years of poor planning and cost-cutting. It was entirely predictable.”
Patients Association head Rachel Power added: “This report makes for grim and upsetting reading. It confirms that the safety and dignity of patients in hospital is increasingly being compromised as a direct result of policy choices over many years.
“This situation must not be allowed to become catastrophic — but without decisive action soon, that will be the outcome.”