The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is tendering for a team of outside advisers to provide economic modelling to help it draw up safe staffing guidelines.
The institute is looking to commission a “safe staffing economics unit” to provide economic analysis on the benefits, costs and outcomes of different staffing scenarios in the health service, such as skill mix among nursing teams.
NICE was asked to produce a series of guidelines on safe staffing in different healthcare settings by the health secretary as part of the government’s response to the Francis repor tinto care failings at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust.
In July, the institute published the first in a set of guidelines for staffing levels across nine different care settings.
The initial document focused on acute settings and said fewer than two registered nurses present on a ward during any shift, day or night, represented a patient safety “red flag”.
“The contracted safe staffing economics unit will be involved throughout the development of the guideline”
Proposals from organisations, consortia or networks of organisations meeting the selection criteria will be considered, according to the tender document published last week.
NICE has said it will consider an organisation’s knowledge and expertise in economic and modelling analysis “within the UK national health service settings”.
The contract, worth between £200,000 and £300,000, is set to last for two and a half years, beginning next January.
The deadline to submit tenders is 17 November. The contract is due to be awarded on 22 December.
A NICE spokeswoman said: “Economic evaluations are used to inform the decision making of the safe staffing advisory committee when developing the guideline recommendations.
“The contracted safe staffing economics unit will be involved throughout the development of the guideline and will develop an economic analysis or simulation model to estimate the outcomes, costs and benefits of staffing scenarios in the NHS,” she said.
“For our safe staffing guidelines an economic analysis could look at the association between patient and process outcomes relative to the costs savings that could be achieved by increasing nurse staffing or tailoring skill mix in each specified setting,” she added.