A West Midlands mental health trust has increased nursing staff numbers in response to the Francis report and other seminal patient safety reports published last year, recent board papers show.
Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust reviewed nurse staffing on its adult acute wards in light of the Francis report into care failings at Mid staffordshire Foundation Trust, and also the Berwick report and the Keogh review.
“You can keep somebody safe and not give them great quality, and actually we want to do both”
The trust’s own internal review pinpointed the need to recruit an additional 14.5 full-time nurses and 5.5 healthcare assistants at an annual cost of £652,066.
This was in order to deliver a “safe quality care” across its 182 adult inpatient beds, according to trust board papers from March.
Birmingham and Solihull’s nursing director, Sue Hartley, said previous staffing numbers were safe and that the uplift would allow the trust to deliver better quality care. “You can keep somebody safe and not give them great quality, and actually we want to do both,” she said.
Ms Hartley, whose background lies in acute hospitals, said that the link between staffing levels and care quality applied equally to acute and non-acute sectors.
“If you look at information from service users when they’re not happy with the quality of their care, it’s often about the time the nurses have to spend with them to help them get better,” she told Nursing Times’ sister title Health Service Journal.
The staffing increase has been funded by the trust agreeing a 1.5% tariff cut with its clinical commissioning groups.
The trust has also committed to considering and approving staffing increases in other inpatient areas – such as older adult and specialities wards. It has not yet identified where the funding for these increases will come from.
The board papers said the staffing reviews for these areas will be completed by July, and stated that the topic of “additional cost pressures due to our response to the Francis report” will be discussed with commissioners by September.