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Nursing forum says staffing continues to be concern

The Nursing and Care Quality Forum’s next phase of work will focus on ensuring organisations have evidence-based staffing levels and skill mixes.

In a letter to the prime minister, forum chair Sally Brearley said she was pleased with progress made on its initial recommendations published in May. These included calls for intentional ward rounding and a “friends and family” test for patients in acute hospitals.

However, the former nurse told David Cameron there was still work to do and the forum would be pushing to “embed” its recommendations, particularly around safe staffing. For example, the forum had called for trust boards to review staffing levels at least twice a year and for Care Quality Commission inspectors to check this was being done.

In her latest letter, Ms Brearley said: “Staffing continues to be a concern to the forum, and many in the profession and the public. It is important to maintain momentum around the drive to ensure that the right people, with the right skills, are caring for people.”

The forum will pay particular attention to where there are “gaps in the evidence base” such as in community and mental health settings.

Ms Brearley also hinted that the forum was likely to split up in April, after it had completed its current work programme and the new NHS Commissioning Board’s nursing team had become established.

“I anticipate that our current work programme will conclude in April next year,” she wrote.

“If there are additional issues to consider after this point then the forum will need to consider how we can add most value, and not duplicate the people, processes and organisations that will be in place to support the new health and care system.”

Readers' comments (2)

  • safe staffing levels should be the first thing on any agenda.

    without enough staff, with the right skills, doing the right job then the rest will all just fall apart. the 'intentional rounding' won't happen without enough staff and the 'friends and family test' will not be realistic.

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  • King Vulture

    Good luck to Sally on this one: if objective evidence-based staffing levels suggest the need for more staff, and Sally wants that requirement 'embedding' in a way which would make evasion impossible, then she will find, I suspect, quite a lot of 'opposition' !

    'and not duplicate the people' - as a cynic, I think many managers and politicians will leap on any suggestion that duplication exists (and that staff can be shed) but won't be so keen on evidence that more staff need to be employed.

    Unsuitable or offensive?

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