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Most Taiwan hospitals short of nursing staff: union

2014/05/08 20:43:48

Taipei, May 8 (CNA) The majority of Taiwan hospitals do not have enough nurses to take care of patients, a nurses' union said Thursday at a legislative session held by the Legislature's Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee.

Citing statistics from a trial evaluation conducted in 2013 by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the Taiwan Nurses Union said 75 percent of the 200 hospitals surveyed failed to meet the standard nurse-to-patient ratios for day shifts.

Union Director Jane Lu said that on day shifts, the nurse to patient ratio is supposed to be at least 1:9 at academic medical centers, 1:10 at metropolitan hospitals, and 1:11 at community hospitals.

If the number of patients rises by one in those ratios, the incidence of death increases by 7 percent, she said, citing international research.

The Ministry of Health needs to address the problem immediately, Lu said.

Teng Su-wen, director of the health ministry's Department of Nursing and Health Services Development, said the trial evaluation used the strictest standards for nurse-to-patient ratios.

Hospitals will be ranked as "unqualified" in future evaluations if they fail to meet the requirement for nurse-to-patient ratios on day, night or midnight shifts, Teng said.

Health Minister Chiu Wen-ta said nurse-to-patient ratios will be officially included in next year's hospital performance evaluation, and hospitals that fail to meet the required standards will be downgraded if they do not address the situation within three months of the evaluation.

(By Lung Pei-ning and Jeffrey Wu)