Media Releases

More resources needed so patient safety can come first

30 October 2014

Nurses believe many serious and adverse events are a symptom of an under resourced health sector and stressed and overworked staff. When nursing staff don’t have enough hours in the day to do everything they need to do, the result is rationed nursing care and the potential for harm to befall patients.

NZNO professional nursing adviser, Kate Weston says, “We welcome the report released by the Health Quality and Safety Commission (HQSC) today, which shows the number of serious adverse events reported in the year to June has risen again, more than doubling since the first report in 2007. We support the approach taken by the Commission that we can learn from mistakes to improve safety.”
“There is increasing confidence in the reporting system however we are not convinced that the increase in reported events over the last seven years can be solely attributed to better reporting. The research demonstrates that there are some patient indicators that are particularly sensitive to nursing numbers and skill mix. These include patient falls, infections and pressure areas. There is an urgent need to address nursing resourcing in hospitals and communities to reduce these adverse events.”
“Nurses are highly skilled professionals and find adverse events very stressful. They are not blasé about falls and other serious harmful events. These accidents are the result of care rationing and sadly it happens every day - the number of nursing hours is just insufficient to meet nursing needs of patients, both in hospitals and in the community. The decision as to what care to prioritise or leave out because of insufficient resourcing is an all too frequent moral dilemma for nurses.”
“The report is silent on this issue and we hope the HQSC undertakes further analysis of why and how these serious events happen,” Weston says.

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