Skip to content
Login Register

Safe staffing levels needed to avoid failings in patient care

06 Feb 2015

Care of patients deteriorates when staff levels are stretched leading doctors have warned.

Care of patients deteriorates when staff levels are stretched leading doctors have warned.

Doctors at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow say that inadequate nurse to patient ratios were a major contributing factor to the failure of care outlined in reports highlighted in an editorial published in the Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh today.

President of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, Dr Frank Dunn said: "The nursing budget is the largest single component in the NHS staffing budget and it remains a critical resource in preventing recurrence of the poor standards of care in Mid-Staffordshire and other hospitals in the UK. Optimising staff numbers has the additional advantage of reducing levels of stress, improving morale and facilitating a caring and compassionate environment."

The College has fully endorsed the editorial, which reviews the reports of 10 major Inquiries and Reviews into serious failings in care in the UK since 2000, including Mid Staffordshire, Bristol, Lanarkshire and the Vale of Leven.

In particular, the College says the issue of appropriate staffing levels is critical within both the medical and associated health professions and it has previously raised this issue both through the College and through the Scottish Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties.

A toolkit has been developed in Scotland in regard to appropriate nurse to patient ratios and skill mix. This has been a positive development, now mandated by the Scottish Government. However, the implementation of such toolkits has not yet been optimised throughout the country.

Our College has also explored how seven day working could address some of these issues. Our statement on adopting seven day working in practice can be accessed here.

"Preventing ‘where next?’: patients, professionals and learning from serious failings in care", The Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, advance online publication, 6 February 2015.

Back to all news

Share this story:

Latest news and statements

Key priority areas

Workforce Recovery and Transformation
Health services in many parts of the world are over-stretched due to workforce shortages, rising demand for services and difficulties in retaining staff.
Read more
A healthy healthcare workforce is essential for patient care. When the workforce is exhausted, experiencing burnout, and struggling to balance their work and personal lives, it impacts on everyone.
Read more
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
We are committed to standing up for equality, diversity and inclusion. We want our College to reflect the diversity in the NHS workforce and in the patients that we care for.
Read more
Climate Change and Sustainability
Climate change has caused great harm to our planet and warnings of increasingly extreme heatwaves, droughts and flooding will all place a significant burden on our health outcomes.
Read more
Health Inequalities
The health inequalities in our society have been both highlighted and exacerbated by the covid pandemic. There is a need to do things differently.
Read more
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the lives of healthcare professionals, and the urgent need to learn whilemfocusing on delivering the best care for our patients has been an enormous challenge.
Read more



Key links

Contact us

Log in

Log in to access your Dashboard, book events, pay your subscriptions and access eLearning material.

Log in

Register an account

New users must register before logging in. You do not need to be a member of the College in order to register.



Having difficulty registering or logging in? Forgotten your username or password?

Get Help