The staffing crisis is deepening in English healthcare across the board, from acute care to primary care and not forgetting nursing homes. The crisis is affecting all professions, at all levels of experience and cannot fail to be impacting on patient care. Recent data from NHS Digital highlights the shortages which include vacancies for nurses running at just under 40,000; for doctors, the total is 8,158 – which equates to one in ten nursing posts and one in seventeen doctors’ jobs. These figures represent one in twelve of all posts or 8.3% of the total workforce.1 Safe patient care is difficult to maintain in these circumstances, there are fewer experienced staff to supervise juniors, those working more or longer shifts to cover the gaps are less rested, more tired physically and mentally than before and there is little respite.
There is a wealth of research and evidence that better hospital nurse staffing is associated with more favourable patient