The good will of nurses in England is being abused by politicians who have failed to get to grips with a desperate shortage of staff, nurse leaders say.
Royal College of Nursing general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair will call for safe staffing levels to be enshrined in law in a speech on Monday.
There are currently nearly 40,000 nurse vacancies – one in nine posts.
However, the government says it is committed to increasing the number of nurses in training.
But Dame Donna, in an address to the RCN’s annual conference in Liverpool, will say this is not enough.
A report earlier this year by three leading think tanks warned vacancies could rise to 70,000 within five years and 100,000 in 10 if action was not taken.