The implementation, impact and costs of safe staffing policies for nursing in acute trusts is to be the focus of a new study by the University of Southampton.
Researchers will ask 155 trusts in England to evaluate safe staffing initiatives including their own response rate to the issue.
“This new study is to identify the costs and consequences of implementing safe staffing policies”
The study will examine in detail how safe staffing policies have been implemented, how implementation has varied, what changes in staffing levels are observed, and whether observed staffing changes are associated with changes in staff and patient outcomes.
Funded by the Department of Health Policy Research Programme, the study will be led by Jane Ball and Professor Peter Griffiths, with support from researchers at Bangor University.
Both Ms Ball and Professor Griffiths have previously published key research on NHS nurse staffing levels and patient safety, while based at Southampton or the National Nursing Research Unit at King’s College London.
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Professor Griffiths said: “Our previous research demonstrates a clear link between nurse staffing levels and hospital related death.
“This new study is to identify the costs and consequences of implementing safe staffing policies, and to explain what has shaped successful implementation,” he said.
Ms Ball added: “In the current financial context, using resources – staffing is the biggest element – wisely to minimise the risks of hospital care and maximise the benefits to patients is essential.”
The study is part of a research programme funded by Policy Research Programme to examine the implementation and impact of policies following the Francis inquiry into failings at the former Mid Staffordshire NHs Foundation Trust.