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Under-staffed A&E causing risks to patient care

Patient care in England is at risk because of a shortfall in the number of registered nurses, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has claimed.

The accusations come following new figures showing that up to 18% of emergency department nursing posts are not filled on a permanent basis.

Although this shortfall is partially covered by temporary nursing staff, there is still a discrepancy of approximately 8.5%.

“Too many A&Es are hampered by under-staffing and the wrong skill mix,” says Linsey Sheerin of the RCN Northern Ireland Emergency Care Network.

“They are struggling to release staff for professional development and training courses, which means they end up with too few nurses with the skills needed.”

The news has also prompted calls from nurses at the RCN’s annual congress not to allow patients with aliments relating to intoxication to be treated at A&E.