Front page news on The Guardian this morning is the claim that patients are being put at risk because NHS
hospitals are functioning with 20,000 fewer nurses than they need across England. According to Royal College of
Nursing chiefs, as many as one in six nursing posts at some hospitals are being kept vacant, as managers try to
meet the Whitehall-ordered drive to save £20 billion by 2015.
The figures come from responses to a Freedom of Information request from 61 out of 161 trusts, revealing an
average 6% vacancy rate.
The college’s report concludes understaffing on this scale ‘will have serious consequences for patient safety’
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