Only five of 22 wards at Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust have sufficient numbers of registered nurses compared to healthcare assistants, an investigation into staffing levels has found.
Deputy director of nursing Fiona Barnes highlighted the skill mix figures in a report for the trust’s January board meeting.
The trust reviewed its nurse staffing levels using the Safer Nursing Care Tool (SNCT) developed by NHS Improving Quality.
“The Safer Nursing Care Tool Update shows that for 17 of the 22 wards the trust established registered workforce is below the SNCT suggested establishment signifying a number of the wards are under established,” said the report.
“However, for unregistered staff (HCA) the SNCT is suggesting that the wards are above recommended establishment, suggesting skill mix needs reviewing to address this as part of future budget cycle,” it said.
The trust noted that, based on the 2014-15 budget, the review findings suggested that its nursing staff was under established by 46.7 whole time equivalents, while the unregistered workforce was over established by 38.7 whole time equivalents – giving an overall under-establishment of eight.
A trust spokeswoman said: “We carry out a bi-annual review to help us make sure we’re responsive to the changing needs of our patients.
“As we see increased levels of acuity and dependency among our patients, we recognise that we have to take proactive steps to make sure our nursing workforce’s skills mix is reflecting our patients’ needs,” she told Nursing Times.
“We will be investing additional financial resources so that we’re able to respond and adapt to those changes in our patients’ needs,” she added.