Safe staffing in our hospitals
We know that having the right staff with the right skills in the right place at the right time is essential to the delivery of safe, high quality patient care.
That is why, following national guidance, we are publishing the planned and actual number of nursing and midwifery staff working on each ward, together with the percentage of shifts meeting safe staffing guidelines. Daily staffing levels can be found on boards at the entrance to each ward. Safe staffing isn’t just about the number of staff on the ward. It is also about the different skills and qualifications staff have. The type of illness or conditions on particular wards also needs to be thought about.
Senior nursing staff review and record our staffing levels at every shift to make sure we continue to provide the best care and treatment for our patients.
Sometimes less staff are on duty than originally planned. This doesn’t mean staffing was unsafe, there are a number of reasons why this can happen. For example if there are empty beds on a ward, they won’t need as many staff as when the ward was full.
Safer Staffing Triangulation
Safe staffing levels on their own do not inform us about the quality of the care our patients receive. In order to do this, we have to triangulate data. This means that we look at staffing levels with a number of other indicators of care quality (such as the number of falls) to see if there is any correlation between staffing levels and the incidence of events.
We report these at our Board Meetings on our Safer Staffing Dashboard. This accompanies the monthly report on daily staffing levels and the reasons why staffing might be under or over what was planned. This method of reporting was introduced in October 2014. The reports can be found in our Board papers.
We will also be reporting ‘red flag’ events - where there is a need to escalate through our internal procedures to senior staff that staffing in a particular area may need to be increased in order to make sure that we can give the highest quality care to patients. Further details of red flag events can be found in the NICE Guidelines.
How are we doing?
Find out more about our safe staffing levels by reading these pdf FAQs (54 KB) .