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The big question: should wards report on staffing levels daily?


A group of MPs has recommended that all hospital trusts should publish staffing levels on every ward on a daily basis.

A group of MPs has recommended that all hospital trusts should publish staffing levels on every ward on a daily basis.

The Commons health committee has proposed that commissioners should require daily publication and sharing of staffing information by healthcare providers.

The committee’s report – After Francis: making a difference – calls on all providers of NHS funded care to adopt the system used by Salford Royal Foundation Trust.

Salford Royal calculates staffing using a triangulated approach involving a workforce tool, benchmarking with other organisations and discussion between senior nurses.

It then publishes a “staffing board” on every ward, which is updated daily with the name of the sister or charge nurse, the number of patients, how many nursing staff there are and how many nursing staff there should be.

Do you think this proposal should be introduced?


Readers' comments (8)

  • Sounds like a good idea.
    But it should not be necessary, as department managers have a responsibility to maintain essential staff levels. There will always be occasions when staff are ill or experience family bereavement at the last minute. However under-staffing is not due to such last minute problems.

    It is due to an ongoing decision by NHS employers not to employ enough staff. This in turn is the result of UK Governments leaving the service under-resourced and failing to make NHS Trusts accountable for how existing resources are used.

    How many million pounds have our governments spent on hounding good staff out of their posts? That might be difficult to answer due to the gagging clauses attached. What size of pension will David Nicholson have when he sails into the sunset in March 2014? Nice reward for creating a culture of fear that is destroying our NHS.
    This health committee proposal needs to be applied in Scotland. Young staff nurses in Scotland recently described their concern about under-staffing in hospital wards. To make matters worse they were warned by their charge nurse not to put their concern in writing!!!
    Is this what they mean by an open & transparent culture?

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  • "To make matters worse they were warned by their charge nurse not to put their concern in writing!!!"

    the charge nurse has every write to put anything they wish in writing and a duty to do so and if this was the case it must be exposed, to the department of health, Hunt himself and the media if necessary.

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  • Yes Anonymous 10;08, of course the charge nurse has a clear responsibilty to put such serious matters in writing.
    But, as recent inquiries have found that is not how it works within corrupt NHS Trusts. Even a CEO was hounded out of post with more than £250,000 settlement and gagging clause. A CQC manager was hounded out when he raised concern about patient safety. What chance does a ward charge nurse have?

    This is how it works; Raise a valid concern in writing and before you know it a
    trumped up charge of bullying, fraud or incompetence is made against you. Will your colleagues support you? No, because they know only too well that they will be next. Employees have mortgages and families to support, so it's easier to turn a blind eye. Colleagues are more likely to collude against you to ensure their own continued employment and promotion. To make matters worse most so called unions collude with these corrupt /incompetent managers.

    Nursing Times Speak Out Safely and online petition is now here to help.

    Also, Patients First is working to support all those raising concerns about risks to patient care and safety and can be contacted at

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  • I wouldn't wish to carry on paying my mortgage or support growing children knowing it was from a salary being paid out by a toxic organisation. there are other more honest jobs out there on the market.

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  • Hi Anonymous 12:21
    I agree 100% with you. That is why I spoke out about dangerous under-staffing. Not one of my team supported me. Plenty of good ex colleagues supported me. They had already voted with their feet and left nursing.

    Management, Human Resources and several colleagues orchestrated a vile vendetta of intimidation and bullying to freeze me out of the workplace. The RCN officer who claimed to be be representing me colluded in this vendetta. I have clear evidence to show the deception of this toxic organisation.

    So, I left and got another job. However that has not solved the problem as hundreds of highly motivated staff have continued to be hounded out of their posts because they raised concern about risks to patient care and safety.

    No employee can resolve this by themselves. That is why it is so important to engage with Nursing Times "Speak out Safely Campaign"

    and please sign their petition

    Patients First can be contacted at

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  • kathleen white | 19-Sep-2013 1:11 pm

    Hi Anonymous 12:21

    good response with which I agree. Maybe you had some luck in your misfortune in getting another job as the problem for many is that they also have to rely on staff in these toxic organisations for references which obviously if they are unable to defend themselves and get the support they need puts them in a very difficult position.

    Fortunately, there are also enlightened prospective employers who recognise this and may offer a job-seeker a chance, and some may be familiar with the reputation of the offending organisation if they have not managed to hide it.

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  • I am surprised that staffing levels aren t noted previously. Of course, if understaffed , the Nurse in charge must document what he or she has done about it and to whom they escalated the problem to. An incident form must be completed . But reporting staffing levels is one thing, doing something about it is another! We have to be careful that this isnt simply another band aid! Nurses must stand up for the welfare and safety of themselves and their patients. The NMC will not tolerate excuses of too busy with numbers of patients, when you make a major drug error!

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  • Marie Anna | 20-Sep-2013 10:38 am

    the NHS/government seemed to have an unlimited stock of band aids. they must have ordered them in bulk for a rainy day or the next world war, but how many more can the services realistically afford when they so frequently become unstuck even when properly applied? it seems this unsatisfactory but so typical and very uneconomical practice cannot go on forever if a really up to the minute and effective medical service to serve the healthcare needs and demands of the whole, currently growing and rapidly and forever demographically changing, population is what is called for!

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