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Patients are at risk due to staff levels, says Royal College of Nurses

By Victoria O'Hara

Published 23/04/2015

The Royal College of Nurses said that serious action needs to be taken to address future staffing problems
The Royal College of Nurses said that serious action needs to be taken to address future staffing problems

Poor staffing levels and work pressures in nursing is putting patient safety at risk across Northern Ireland, a leading union has warned.

The Royal College of Nurses (RCN) said that serious action needs to be taken to address future staffing problems.

At an evidence session in Stormont's health committee yesterday, Garrett Martin from the RCN said it was "staggering" that both his professional body and the Royal College of Midwives had not been asked to be involved in future policy regarding nursing levels.

Mr Martin, who is RCN deputy director of employment relations, was asked by health committee chairwoman Maeve McLaughlin: "Is nursing safe, is midwifery safe?"

Mr Martin said nurses had real concerns over patient safety in wards and in community settings.

"We do see in reports in the community more and more where work cases are increasing significantly," he said.

"The dependency and needs of the patient has increased significantly and they are rushing in and out of patients' houses to ensure they can get round to see all of their patients and they are identifying that as a major risk."

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