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Hospital Healthcare Europe

Nurse shortage hits mental care


2 August, 2007  

A poll of 600 mental health nurses by the Royal College of Nursing found nearly half thought low staffing compromised care once a week. They also complained they did too much paperwork and 43% said they did not have time to give patients specialist care, such as psychological therapy.

Mental health experts said low staffing levels were unacceptable.

Two-thirds thought there were currently not enough members of staff to meet patient needs and 42% complained that low staffing levels compromised care once a week. The survey also showed that more than half of nurses believed they had to spend too much time on paperwork.

Norman Young, a nurse consultant in Cardiff, is involved in caring for mental health care patients and also helps train nurses and develop patient care plans. He said as a result of increased paperwork in recent years, many nurses were feeling frustrated and needed more support. And some are having to prioritise patients – putting less urgent cases on waiting lists despite them still having high levels of needs.