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Hospital trust accused of risking lives after raising patient-to-nurse ratio to dangerously high levels

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A hospital trust in Bristol has been accused of risking lives after raising its patient-to-nurse ward ratio to dangerously high levels, having allegedly dismissed staff concerns and national guidance on safe staffing.

University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW) has introduced a blanket policy across its hospitals that assigns one nurse to 10 patients (1:10) for all general adult wards. This ratio, which previously stood at 1:6 or 1:8 depending on the ward, rises to 1:12 for nights shifts.

The new policy, which is applicable to Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) and Weston General Hospital, also extends to all specialist high-care wards, which treat patients with life-threatening conditions such as epilepsy and anaphylaxis.

Nurses at the trust have expressed their anger over the decision, saying they were never fully consulted by senior officials. Many are fearful that patient safety will be compromised as the second coronavirus wave intensifies, culminating in the unnecessary loss of life.

“Patients who would have extra nursing staff because they are very acutely unwell and need close observation I think are going to unnecessarily die,” one nurse at BRI told The Independent

“Or if they survive, they’ll suffer long-term conditions because things were missed as they don’t have the staff at their bed side to watch the deterioration.”

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Source: The Independent, 18 November 2020

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