Mental health nurses warn of short-staffing

A poll of mental health nurses across the UK has suggested that many in the profession are worried that short-staffing may be compromising patient care.

In a survey conducted by the Royal College of Nurses, nearly half the nurses said they thought low staffing levels compromised care once a week.

More than half the nurses said they worked excess hours several times a week while two-thirds agreed that there are currently not enough staff members to adequately meet patient needs.

The poll also suggests that mental health nurses have to spend a third of their time on administration and clerical work, leaving them less time to give patients specialist care such as psychological therapy.

RCN General Secretary Dr Peter Carter said: “This survey shows that mental health nurses are facing serious obstacles to delivering the kind of care that their clients deserve.

“Nurses shouldn’t be spending a third of their time on paperwork, this time would be much better spent with their clients.”

The RCN recommends regular and systematic reviews of mental nurse staffing levels.

To read ‘Untapped Potential – A Survey of RCN Members Working in Mental Health’, click here.