Cuts to nurse staffing levels pose a risk to patients and society, warns International Council of Nurses’ Workforce Forum

Geneva, Switzerland, Dublin, Ireland, 28 October 2013 - Nurse leaders at the 19th International Council of Nurses Workforce Forum have issued a warning that unsafe nurse staffing levels pose a risk to patients and society.

Following a recent gathering of nurse leaders from nine countries[i] in Dublin, Ireland, 23-25 September 2013, the ICN Workforce Forum reaffirmed that nurses are key contributors to society through cost-effective planning and delivery of quality assured health care services in all settings.  In a Communiqué which can be found on the ICN website, a call was made for governments and employers to protect our communities by providing safe nurse staffing levels in order to ensure quality assured patient outcomes.

Forum delegates expressed growing concerns about the impacts of budget cuts, staffing moratoriums and the erosion of workplace conditions on patient and worker safety.  They called on all governments to make evidence based decisions ensuring required  nursing numbers in order to secure desired patient outcomes and safe working practices.  In addition, the Forum members called on nurse leaders to speak out and take action in the interest of patients and nursing care and to draw attention to unsafe working conditions and other barriers to safe care.

The ICN Workforce Forum meets annually to deliberate on common trends affecting nurses’ capacity to deliver safe and effective patient care. Issues discussed at the 19th Forum included safe staffing levels, the 24/7 work environment within the continuum of care and the economic value of nurses to society.

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) is a federation of more than 130 national nurses associations representing the millions of nurses worldwide. Operated by nurses and leading nursing internationally, ICN works to ensure quality care for all and sound health policies globally.