Sunderland hospital bosses have vowed to hire extra health care assistants to make up for any shortfall of nurses on the city’s wards.
New figures from the Health Service Journal show nine out of 10 hospitals are failing to meet their own targets for safe levels of nurses on wards.
An analysis of 232 hospitals in England found 207 unable to meet safe levels during the day, while 81% could not hit targets for night cover and some 79% missed both quotas.
A Sunderland City Hospital Trust spokeswoman said staffing levels were running at more than 92%, but action would be taken to address any shortfall.
“The trust reports publicly each month a summary of planned and actual nursing and midwifery staffing on a shift-by-shift basis,” she said.
“We have in place robust systems for nursing and midwifery staffing and these processes exist to ensure there is sufficient staffing capacity to provide safe care on a day-by-day and shift-by-shift basis.
“The matron team monitors staffing levels across all wards and for each shift. All wards have an agreed staffing level which, if not achieved, will result in a risk assessment being undertaken and any necessary mitigating action put in place.
“The skills and experience of staff and the complexities of patient need vary shift by shift and from ward to ward. Failure to achieve 100% fill rate can be about the number of vacancies but also about maternity leave and sickness.
“If there are Registered Nurse vacancies, the trust will over-recruit Health Care Assistants until we are able to recruit registered nurses.
“Our priority is always to ensure patients receive high quality, safe services.”