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Hospital nurses helping boost transparency on ward staffing numbers


Nurses around the country are helping introduce new measures to introduce transparency on ward staffing levels.

From the end of the month, trusts in England must begin displaying individual ward staffing levels on boards outside all adult inpatient wards.

Many trusts have already begun to do so, including Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust and University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (all pictured above).

The idea was inspired by work pioneered by nurses at Salford Royal Foundation Trust, under the leadership of executive nurse director Elaine Inglesby-Burke.

The roll-out of the measure was announced by the government last year, following recommendations made by the Francis report into care failings at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust.

However, the ward-level information does not currently have to include the number of patients – leading some high profile nurses to repeat calls for the introduction of mandatory nurse-to-patient ratios.

In addition to this measure, trusts are also now required to submit monthly ward data for publication on the NHS Choices website. The first datasets are due to be published later today.

Trusts must also put together a six-monthly report on staffing capacity and capability following an establishment review, and compile a monthly report on staffing to be presented to the trust board each month.




Readers' comments (3)

  • Once again Staffing of wards has moved to the top of the agenda - easy to see, easy to count and more than likely another stick with which to beat our beleaguered NHS.
    Once again we shall be bombarded with data relating to numbers of staff on wards. Soon we shall see wards and hospitals 'rated and ranked' no doubt backed up with impressive bar charts to support their efficiency scores.
    This will take up the very expensive time of yet more senior hospital managers!
    Should we automatically believe that more nurses = better care?
    Are we to expect more untrained carers on each ward bolstering the staff numbers? Has anyone discussed skill mix, 'on ward' teaching time by ward managers, adjusting staffing levels daily to cope with fluctuating demands of patient dependency, are we to see proof that nurses are keeping their own knowledge base updated, and have all ward managers acquired teaching qualifications which they regularly use on and off the ward?
    More 'nurses' does not necessarily equate to better care if most of them are crowding round the ward computer as patients' needs go unseen, unheard and unmet.

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  • Staffing levels put up on boards are no use, if the staff that have been chosen for that shift get moved else where during the day to cover poor levels in other wards. Too many times staff have turned up at one ward to be sent to another after an hour or two. Is this reflected in the final numbers?

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  • Totally agree with above!!!
    Our N.H.S what a joke!!

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