90 percent of England hospitals hit by nurse shortage

London, Dec 21 (IANS) Nine in 10 hospitals in England fail to provide enough nurses for patients, Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) said in a new report on Monday.

According to a monthly report, 207 of 225 hospitals in England were found unable to meet their targets for safe levels of nurses on wards. Among those, 81 percent of hospitals could not meet targets for night cover, while 79 percent missed both day and night, Xinhua reported.

It said that in some hospitals, one nurse needs to take care of 22 patients.

A survey, which consulted about 1,000 nurses, also showed that they were under great pressure because they were unable to provide safe levels of care, and half of them said there were rarely or never enough nurses available.

Three-quarters of respondents said they were forced to leave patients with not enough of the required care.

Media reports said it was not a secret that hospitals in England were facing nurse shortage, and a considerable number of hospitals have had to rely heavily on overseas recruitment.

“Staffing is a priority. We have put more than 7,600 additional nurses on our wards since May 2010 and there are 50,000 nurses currently in training,” said a spokesman of Britain’s department of health.

“We know that there are big challenges for hospitals, so we are helping the NHS to employ the staff it needs at a fair price by clamping down on rip-off staffing agencies and identifying billions of pounds of back-office savings so that as much money as possible goes to the front line,” he added.

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