‘Not enough’ hospital nurses on duty, say one in three patients in Scotland

Survey reveals concern about staff numbers, though overall satisfaction with service rises to record level.
Inpatient survey

More than one third of patients in Scotland’s hospitals feel there are not always enough nurses on duty, reveals a new national survey.

Nearly one in ten patients (9%) said there were rarely or never enough nurses on duty, while more than one in four (28%) felt there were only sometimes enough nurses to care for them.

Patient satisfaction

However, overall satisfaction with Scotland’s health service has risen to a record level, according to the fifth national inpatient experience survey, which garnered responses from more than 17,000 people.

In total 90% of patients rated their care and treatment as good or excellent, the highest rating since the survey began in 2010.

Satisfaction with hospital staff remained high at 91%, while improvements were also noted in emergency care, ward cleanliness and the general hospital environment.

Positive correlation

RCN Scotland associate director Ellen Hudson said: ‘Those who answered positively about there being enough nurses on duty were much more likely to answer positively about other aspects of their care and treatment.

‘This reinforces the need for health boards to ensure there are enough registered nurses to care for patients; there is a clear correlation between this and positive patient outcomes.’

Ms Hudson added that nursing vacancy rates in Scotland stood at 3.6%, with 2,200 posts unfilled.

Encouraging news

Health Secretary Shona Robison said: ‘It is encouraging to see that satisfaction in Scotland's hospitals continues to rise against a backdrop of increasing patient numbers.

‘These rising levels of satisfaction show that our decisions to put the patient at the heart of everything we do in our NHS, and to increase workforce numbers to their current record levels, are delivering good results.’