The survey of 4475 people from across England found that 84 percent were concerned that understaffing of nurses will have a detrimental impact on patient safety. Nearly all (93 percent) agreed the NHS should have a duty to guarantee safe and appropriate staffing levels and 77 percent agreed that if more nurses were employed the standard of healthcare would improve.
The findings come amid a spate of deficit-led cuts of NHS posts up and down the country through a combination of redundancies and posts being frozen and deleted. The survey also found that 72 percent of the public believe that nurses do not have the time and resources to do their jobs properly.
Dr Peter Carter, General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), said: 'These findings show just how much the public value nurses and the work they do. Having led the way in modernising the health service, bringing down waiting times and improving patient care, it is vital we do not sacrifice nursing posts at the altar of deficits. Otherwise, we risk reversing the progress we have made so far and denying patients the high quality care they deserve.
'It is now time the government shows just how much it values nurses by giving them a fair and decent pay award that reflects their skill and dedication, and not the pay cut by instalments it is currently proposing.'