How safe is your staffing?

UNISON will run its fifth annual safe NHS staffing levels survey on 9 February and is asking all members in the nursing family to take part

Do you work in the health service as a nurse, healthcare assistant, student nurse, midwife or health visitor? Then make sure you take part in UNISON’s fifth annual safe staffing levels survey.

Safe staffing levels have been in the news recently – and UNISON has been campaigning to improve staffing levels for years. But unfortunately, there are still many workplaces with too few staff.

That’s why the union runs this survey: to find out what staffing levels are like in workplaces across the country on a regular day.

Participants are asked to keep track of the registered nurse-to-patient ratio – how many patients there are per registered nurse in their workplace on 9 February – and then answer questions in an online survey.

All answers are kept anonymous and non-attributable, so everyone is encouraged to answer honestly and fully.

Please fill in your response between 9 February and 9am on 15 February. Responses outside that time won’t be counted.

On 9 February, UNISON is asking those taking part in the survey to track:

  • how many hours your shift lasted;
  • whether you worked any overtime (and how long it was);
  • how many total patients there were during your shift;
  • how many total nurses there were during your shift;
  • whether you took some, all or none of your breaks;
  • the percentage of your shift you spent working face to face with patients (exclude travel, paperwork, etc);
  • how many bank and/or agency staff members worked on your shift;
  • whether your workplace has a set staffing ratio for nursing staff and, if so, what it is.

UNISON head of nursing Gail Adams urges members: “Tell your colleagues. Tell your friends who work in healthcare. Tell your branch. Get as many people involved as possible.

“With your help, we can provide a better picture of the situation with staffing levels across the UK.”

Please email if you would like further information.