Lack of qualified nurses puts old people at risk in hospital

OLD people are not safe on hospital wards in Scotland due to a lack of professionally qualified nurses, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) warned today.

New evidence from the RCN found one nurse cares for around nine patients on older people’s wards.

The RCN said that “this is not enough to provide basic, safe care, which requires a minimum of one nurse to seven patients”.

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The RCN is now calling for a “patient guarantee” to set out the number of nurses needed on older people’s wards.

RCN Scotland director Theresa Fyffe said: “As health boards come under increasing financial pressure to deliver the same services to more and more people, they are saving money when nurses leave by not replacing them.

“Older people often have more complex health conditions so they must be given the best care by an appropriate mix of qualified nurses and healthcare support workers.”