Join our campaign for safe staffing

We're calling for safe and effective care to be enshrined in law in each UK country.  


In England there is no law related to nurse staffing. The RCN is campaigning for legislation to guarantee nurse staffing levels in England across all sectors and settings.

Northern Ireland

Following industrial action during 2019/2020 to achieve pay equality and safe staffing, the priority for RCN Northern Ireland is to hold the Department of Health and Northern Ireland Executive to account for the delivery of the Health Minister’s safe staffing framework, particularly in relation to the implementation of safe staffing legislation.

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In June 2019 the Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Act became law, the first legislation in the UK to set out requirements for safe staffing across both health and social care services. Implementation has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic but RCN Scotland is calling for the Act to be implemented as soon as possible.


The Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Act 2016 was the first law of its kind in the UK. It applies everywhere nursing care is delivered in Wales. Its most stringent provisions, known as Section 25B, were extended in October 2021. They now apply in children's inpatient wards in addition to adult medical and surgical wards. RCN Wales continues to campaign to protect patient care and empower the ward sister/charge nurse by advocating for the extension of Section 25B to mental health inpatient wards, community and care home settings.

RCN Nursing Workforce Standards  

The RCN's Nursing Workforce Standards are the first national blueprint for tackling the nursing staff shortage levels across the UK. They set the standard for excellent patient care and nursing support in all settings, and all UK countries.

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Sign the Welsh safe staffing petition

Sign the petition to ask the Welsh government to provide the 1,719 nurses they desperately need.

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Working time and rest breaks

Read our advice guide on working time and breaks

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Our principles for staffing for safe and effective care