The RESULTS of the latest NHS staff survey show patients in Lancashire are 'at risk of receiving poor care or being harmed' due to persistent staff shortages.

Published earlier this month, the findings from the annual survey carried out between September and November revealed that in some NHS hospitals and other health trusts across Lancashire only one in four nurses believe there are enough staff members for them to do their job properly.

Estephanie Dunn, regional director of the RCN in the North West, said: “When nurses say there are too few staff for them to do their job properly, it’s worrying because it can mean patients don’t receive the care they need, or their safety is compromised.

“There are nearly 5,000 vacancies for NHS nurses across the North West – one in nine posts – and this number has barely changed in the past four years. The results of the survey suggest that in some/many health trusts the staffing crisis is getting worse, not better.

“Hospitals and other care providers have a huge challenge to recruit and retain enough nurses to fill the gaps, but they’ve been frustrated by the Government ducking its responsibility to ensure a sufficient supply of staff.

“The Government must commit to delivering and funding a workforce plan for the long term that guarantees there are enough nursing staff in the health and care system to provide patients with consistently safe and effective care.”

Meanwhile, the survey results also reveal fewer nursing staff in Lancashire are satisfied with their level of pay than they were a year ago.

Typically, below 40 per cent of registered nurses and midwives at NHS trusts in Lancashire are content with their level of pay, with satisfaction rates in some hospitals lower than 30 per cent.

The RCN says the falling and low satisfaction rates show how undervalued many nursing staff were feeling even before the Government proposed a pay rise of only two to three per cent for NHS workers this summer – below the current inflation rate and, in effect, a pay cut.

Ms Dunn said: “Nursing staff are earning less in real terms than they were ten years ago, the cost of living is soaring and these results are yet another sign that more and more of them are feeling short-changed by the Government for the skills, knowledge and responsibility they have.

“When nurses are reporting they can get less stressful jobs for similar pay, the sooner the Government appreciates that fair pay is a key factor in addressing the shortages in our profession, the better.”

The survey results show:

“There are enough staff at this organisation for me to do my job properly” -

Percentage of registered nurses and midwives saying they “strongly agree or agree”:

· East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust – 37.4% (2020) vs 22.4% (2021)

· Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS FT - 35.7% (2020) vs 23.7% (2021)

· Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS FT – 37.2% (2020) vs 24% (2021)

· Southport and Ormskirk NHS Trust -31.8% (2020) vs 26.4% (2021)

· University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS FT – 37.1% (2020) vs 22.1% (2021)

East Lancashire NHS Trust were contacted for comment.