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Linda Aiken: NHS policy is driving harmful variation in nurse staffing levels and diluting skill mix

The latest evidence on registered nurse numbers and patient satisfaction makes the case for safe staffing levels overwhelming, says leading nurse researcher Linda Aiken

The latest evidence on registered nurse numbers and patient satisfaction makes the case for safe staffing levels overwhelming, says leading nurse researcher Linda Aiken

Patients unfavourable views of NHS hospital care are significantly associated with too few registered nurses (RNs), rather than uncaring nurses, we show in a new study published in BMJ Open .

Only 60% of 66,000 patients from 161 acute trusts surveyed by the NHS reported there were usually enough nurses to provide their care. One in ten said there were rarely enough nurses, and of these only 14% rated their care as excellent.

The likelihood of patients saying there were always enough nurses was 40% lower in hospitals where nurses cared for ten patients each, compared with hospitals where nurses cared for six

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