Hospitals must publish ward staffing levels

  • From April next year NHS trust will have to publish staffing figures each month.

    Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, has introduced monthly mandatory reporting of staffing levels on hospital wards, however is said that the idea of enforcing a fixed minimum nurse-patient ration will be rejected.

    The proposals have derived from the aftermath of the Mid Staffordshire scandal where hundreds of patients died due to poor failings in care. Hunt is said to be likely to propose that the National Insitute for Health and Care Excellence be required to draw up a "toolkit" suggesting minimum staffing levels in wards. This will take into account the size of the ward, acuteness of patient illness, age profile and other factors.

    By law, NHS trusts will be required to publish the staffing in each ward and will also be subject to an immediate health inspection by the CQC if guidelines are not met, reports the Guardian.

    Hunt has said that a fixed ratio would be a mistake as they believe it was "Labour's target culture" that led to failures at institutions such as Mid Staffs.  

    The plans have come as new figures from Health Education England reveal that NHS hospitals are planning to employ more than 3,700 extra nurses by the end of the financial year.

    Hospitals will have to publish staffing levels on a ward by ward basis alongside the percentage of shits meeting safe staffing guidelines. Publication is mandatory and will need to be done every month.

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