Nursing staff are being forced to choose between finishing paperwork and treating patients, as the chronic staff shortages in the NHS continue to hamper the care staff can give, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has warned. In a major report on nurse morale the RCN says the profession is “on the brink”, with the 43,000 vacant full-time nursing posts across the UK hampering their ability to do the job to the best of their ability. The shortage is a major source of public concern as well, with a YouGov poll of the public revealing 74% of people think there are not enough nurses to run the health service safely – and addressing this was their top priority for the NHS. For its report the RCN surveyed 30,000 nursing staff, many of who explained how the current shortages were affecting them. Some of the main concerns identified were that a lack of time means fundamentals of personal and patient care are not carried out, with nurses unable to find time to wash patients or get them back in to bed. The burden of paperwork and auditing, a major part of this government’s drive to make the NHS the safest and most transparent health service in the world through data monitoring, is another burden. Nurses also raised concerns about the lack of time to discuss patients’ care needs and next steps with love ones and relatives.