Ratios revisited – internationally


Inspired by the successful NSWNA campaign for nurse-patient ratios that enhance safe patient care, Nursing Unison, the largest nursing union in the UK, recently carried out a survey of their members to get a snapshot of nurse-patient ratios on a typical working day in March, 2012.

The result? The survey showed problems with understaffing on a national level, which means that patient care is suffering everywhere.

“On a randomly chosen day the overwhelming feedback revealed there were not enough staff on the wards to deliver safe, compassionate and dignified care … This causes added concern as British and international research shows that high nurse to patient ratios are directly related to lower patient mortality.”

An American oncology nurse makes the same point in a 2010 article on the CNN news site: “The thinner nurses are spread in hospitals the greater the number of patients who die. It’s that simple.”

All the more reason to keep on defending ratios (which are under threat from the O’Farrell government in NSW) – for nurses as workers and for our patients’ wellbeing.


If you haven’t already liked our Safe Patient Care Facebook page, head over there now so you can keep in touch with the campaign – which unfortunately is not over yet for NSW nurses.

Image credit: NSWNA

Remember to sign the NSWNA Recency of Practice Petition!


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