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Will NICE’s new safe staffing guidelines be effective in improving patient safety?

  • Comments (5)

NICE sets out guidance on safe nurse staffing levels for hospitals

Fewer than two registered nurses present on a ward during any shift, day or night, represents a patient safety “red-flag”, according to major guidelines for the NHS.  

In addition, nurse managers must check staffing levels are safe on hospital wards where each registered nurse is caring for more than eight patients during day shifts.

The guidelines state that nurses in charge of shifts should monitor for the occurrence of “nursing red-flag events” during each 24-hour period. Where one occurs, it should “prompt an immediate escalation response”, such as allocating additional nursing staff to the ward.

 

Let’s discuss…

  • Is an “immediate escalation response” realistic for every red-flag event?
  • How often do “red-flag” incidents occur in your place of work?
  • Will the guidelines be effective in improving patient safety?
  • Comments (5)

Readers' comments (5)

  • Anonymous

    What counts as a 'ward'? What about a split ward - male one end, female the other, but with 16 beds each end? Is that 2 RGNs for 32 patients?

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  • Anonymous

    Interesting times indeed. I will look forward to reading these comments. I've not been in clinical practice for 10 years and remember painfully the very frequent 'red flag' moments - on almost every shift (36 bed acute surgery - 3 RGNs, one of those usually bank/agency) which were rarely taken heed of and resulted in me leaving to take up an office based role after many years.

    I couldn't bear any longer trying to avoid making eye contact with any of the patients as I sped down the ward of ringing buzzers to the one which had been chiming the longest. I just couldn't risk being interrupted again...one encounter of many that is no exaggeration.

    I find it hard to believe this level of staffing will come off - or if it does commence for a while in some high profile areas, will certainly not be sustained.

    Good luck and 'hats off' to those still in the field although - few will really appreciate - (unlike us who have lived it) what it's really like, including I wonder, those making the decisions affecting today's practice.

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  • Anonymous

    What about having sufficient numbers of Health Visitors to run caseloads safely in the community? Same for the District Nurses. It's not all happening in hospitals!!

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  • Anonymous

    What really annoys myself and my colleagues alike, is the fact that The Sister, Senior Staff nurse And therapy staff are included in the numbers when saying that the ward is well staffed, what a joke the sister and senior staff nurse never set foot on the ward to Actually work the floor. At 4pm it's like the Marie Celeste, all the above mentioned have left the ward. Leaving 2 staff nurse and 4 HCAs to care, toilet, feed, administer medications, converse with family members, AND complete the all important paperwork. So at weekends the ward is well and truly Understaffed, and the management do not give a damn. IT IS NEVER GOING TO GET ANY BETTER.

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  • Anonymous

    What about the community ? we frequently have large caseloads of children with complex needs that only have a 9-5 service due to comissioning elements andsmall workforce numbers yet we are supposed to be preventing hospital admissions and aiding early discharge.....

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