A POLL which suggests the majority of nurses believe patients are being put at riks due to understaffing in Glasgow’s hospitals has prompted a war of words between union bosses and the health board.

Almost 60% of nurses told their union that they do not believe there is enough staff to provide 'safe care' and 80% said they had considered leaving the job because of it.

Matt McLaughlin, head of health for Unison Scotland, accused NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde of downplaying the fears of nurses after the board made reference to the number of staff who took part in the survey in its response.

A total of 4,642 Unison members were surveyed and 13.1% took part, which the health board said amounted to around 600 staff.

However the board said it would be looking at the survey responses ‘in detail’.

Matt McLaughlin, Head of Health for Scotland said: “It speaks volumes that having complained about staffing levels NHS bosses in Glasgow asked Unison for evidence, then try to minimise the views of Unison nurses.”

“Unison accepts this is a small survey; we also acknowledge that NHS Glasgow and Clyde have undertaken a series of surveys in the past and have lots of policies in place.

“The issue here though is that despite policies on paper, nurses across NHS Glasgow and Clyde continue to be overworked; under resourced and poorly supported by senior managers.”

The survey also found that 60% of nurses do not feel they have enough time to spend with patients and 40.3% said they had covered another employee’s caseload on their last shift.

A spokeswoman for NHSGGC said: “Unison has undertaken surveys of their members and helpfully shared the outcomes with us as the employer.

“The survey received a response from approximately 600 of our nursing staff from a total complement of almost 11,000.

“If any member of staff has any concerns about patient safety or staffing levels we encourage them to bring this to the attention of the senior nurse immediately.

“We will look at the survey responses in detail and determine if any actions are required to further support our staff.

“Our Board uses a series of nationally approved workforce tools and we ensure all our staffing levels are kept under regular review and adjusted to ensure safe staffing levels are maintained.”