The review by by senior representatives of the Royal College of Nursing in Northern Ireland was commissioned by the Saolta Hospitals Group.
The report found that nursing staff at UHG feel disempowered and frustrated, patients are at risk and “nobody is in charge” at a departmental or corporate level.
It says relationships between senior medical staff and the nursing team appear broken and the resulting lack of trust is extremely damaging.
During the review, the team found that even very urgent cases have had to wait more than 12 hours to be assessed by a doctor, while elective work is cancelled regularly.
One heart patient urgently requiring angioplasty had been cancelled three times.
The report also claims that a number of staff became visibly upset describing their experiences of working in such a stressful environment during interviews.
Nurses say nothing is being done to address the departure of senior staff due to work-related stress.
The review found that nurses at UHG don’t have access to lab results – and doctors have to sign off requests for blood tests.
In addition, nurses are not permitted to refer patients directly to occupational therapy or physiotherapy, a restriction the report describes as outdated.
Decisions about the transfer of patients are often made without nurses being consulted.
According to the Irish Times, the review found little support for whistleblowers on safety concerns – the Royal College of Nursing in Northern Ireland says this needs to change.