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Trust pledges to increase nursing skill mix on wards

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A south Yorkshire hospital trust has made a public commitment to increase its ward skill mix so that at least 65% of staff are registered. 

Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust approved the increase at its December board meeting. 

Current staffing levels at the trust were mostly based on a ratio of 60% qualified nurses and midwives to 40% healthcare assistants.

The decision was based on analysis of the mix of patients admitted to the trust’s three hospitals over the last six months, especially acuity.

The trust also announced that it intends to start publishing nurse staffing levels for each ward, in advance of the April 2014 date set by the Department of Health last month in its response to the Francis report into care failings at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust.

Previously, in June, the trust announced it was investing an additional £7m this year in expanding bed capacity and clinical staffing levels.

Trust chief executive Mike Pinkerton said: “We were probably one of the first trusts in the country to make this kind of public commitment to investing in additional nursing posts and have been doing a lot of work over the last six months to look at our staffing levels and skill mix.”

Mike Pinkerton

Mike Pinkerton

He said the move had partly stemmed from staff feedback that they were seeing patients who were older and had more complex health needs than just a few years ago.

“We’re determined to increase this ratio so that that in future at least 65% of ward staff are qualified nurses or midwives and we want to reach that goal as soon as we can,” Mr Pinkerton said. “We’re also keen to be open and transparent about nursing levels on all our wards.”


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