More than a quarter of nursing staff in hospitals across the UK say patient care is being compromised due to treatment taking place in the wrong setting.
Investment in the nursing workforce is needed now, the Royal College of Nursing insists, as survey findings show clinical care is taking place in settings such as hospital corridors and waiting rooms rather than on wards.
The poll of more than 20,000 nursing and midwifery staff found the situation is worst in emergency care settings where nearly two-thirds of respondents reported the problem.
Elsewhere, more than a quarter of nursing staff who responded say patients are being treated in the wrong setting, meaning their care is being compromised and even made unsafe.
Staff shortages are a key factor, and across health and social care settings this is causing delays to patients being discharged into the community. This leaves hospitals full, with emergency care staff having to provide care in inappropriate settings.
One specific issue identified by respondents was extra beds being added to wards, making carrying out care more difficult, and leading to a lack of privacy for patients and their families.
A nurse who works on an NHS adult acute ward in Scotland said patients and their relatives had complained about an extra bed being squeezed into a four-bedded bay, meaning they had no buzzer, no curtains and were not two-metre distanced.
She added: “I feel incredibly frustrated and embarrassed. It is totally inappropriate for ward rounds, nursing procedures, COVID precautions and an extra stress on staff.”
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Source: Royal College of Nursing, 14 July 2022