NEARLY three quarters of adults think there are too few nurses to provide safe patient care, according to a YouGov poll.

The results of the survey were released along with a report titled Staffing For Safe And Effective Care: Nursing On The Brink, which highlighted fears over staff shortages affecting patient care and the health of nurses.

More than a quarter (27 per cent) of respondents said their main concern is they are not receiving the care when needed, while 17 per cent said their primary concern was that the care they received "may not be safe".

On the first day of its annual congress, Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, is expected to say: "The reason we have so many vacancies is because of short-sighted cost-cutting in past years, and ineffective workforce planning driven by finance and not the needs of patients."

The UK poll follows on from an RCN member survey in 2017 which showed more than 50 per cent of respondents in Scotland said their last shift was not staffed to the planned level.

Theresa Fyffe, RCN director for Scotland, said: "The public must have confidence that the NHS services used by them and their loved ones are staffed to a safe level."

"That nearly 75 per cent of people don't believe that this is the case shows that the time is right for safe staffing levels to be set out in law."

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "In the forthcoming months we will formally introduce our Safe Staffing Bill to the Scottish Parliament, which we have been developing with a number of stakeholders, including the Royal College of Nursing."