NHS England have recently published specific staffing guidance titled ‘How to ensure the right people with the right skills are in the right place at the right time – a guide to nursing, midwifery and care staffing capacity and capability’. The guidance is aimed to support providers and commissioners in making the right decisions with regard to staffing so that they can deliver high quality care and the best possible outcomes for their patients.
The guidance outlines a set of expectations of providers and commissioners relating to staffing and provides advice on how they can be met. A total of 10 expectations are listed grouped under the following headings:
- Accountability and responsibility;
- Evidence-based decision making;
- Supporting and fostering a professional environment;
- Openness and transparency;
- Planning for future workforce requirements; and
- The role of commissioning.
In particular, the guidance clearly sets out what is expected of boards. They are expected to take full responsibility for the quality of care provided to patients and for nursing, midwifery and care staffing capacity and capability. Boards should ensure there are robust systems and processes in place to assure themselves that there is sufficient staffing capacity and capability to provide high quality care to patients on all wards, clinical areas, departments, services or environments day or night, every day of the week.
The guidance also provides a selection of evidence-based tools intended to help nurses and midwives to identify their staffing requirements and present data that supports staffing decisions.
Commenting on the guidance, Jane Cummings, Chief Nurse Officer in England said “We have very clear evidence of a link between appropriate staffing and the outcomes of our patients. This evidence must be used to set staffing levels locally. Patients and the public are therefore entitled to know that we have the right number of people in place to provide safe, quality care every time. We first encouraged a move towards greater transparency on staffing levels in my nursing strategy, but we are now going further. Hospitals will have to publish this information – at ward level – and present the evidence they have used to determine staffing levels in public. That is the right way to ensure there is rigour around decisions that are taken, as well as to provide hospitals and other services with the flexibility they need to get the right staff in the right place. We need the right level of staffing in every locality – and that cannot be mandated centrally.”
To view the guidance you can follow the link provided below.