All NHS trusts are now required to publish staffing levels as part of the NHS response to the Francis report. The staffing levels will be published on NHS Choices website from the 24th June onwards. As part of our Safe Staffing reports we will also provide information about our staffing and skill mix reviews and our monthly reports to the board.
How do we know how many staff are needed on each ward?
We review nursing and midwifery staffing and skill mix every six months. As a result of these reviews we have increased investment in staffing every year.
In the last two years the staffing review has included a scoring system that assesses the conditions and dependency of patients. This helps us to evaluate more accurately the number of staff we need, to provide safe and effective care.
The outcomes from the staffing reviews presented to the board will be available on our website from the 24th June 2014.
What is being done to recruit enough nurses?
A very proactive approach to recruiting nurses and midwives has been in place for the past two years and this is supported by a recruitment strategy and action plan.
- There is a rolling programme for recruitment of staff nurses and health care assistants.
- All newly qualified student nurses are recruited through centralised events.
- All student nurses are invited and actively encouraged to join the nurse bank as healthcare assistants at the appropriate stage in their training.
- We attended four recruitment fairs last year and further events are planned for this year, on top of recruitment events at the local universities.
- Three overseas recruitment events have taken place resulting in a total of 45 recruits. Further European recruitment events are being planned.
- We are liaising with local sixth form colleges to develop relationships and recruit students who are studying health and social care related subjects.
- We have a comprehensive programme for supporting and developing both registered and unregistered nursing and midwifery staff from induction packages on initial employment through to post registration masters level modules and support for further study.
Recruiting enough nurses will continue to be a challenge which is faced by the majority of trusts across the country.
What happens if there are not enough nurses on duty for any given shift?
Every day the matrons and ward managers discuss the number of staff they have on duty to identify any areas that may need extra help. The matrons and ward managers readjust the staffing in each area to best meet the needs of patients.
It is not always possible to provide extra staff and there are times when the nursing staff have to prioritise their care and support of patients based upon the number of staff available.
This situation might occur when a member of staff is off sick at short notice or when the number of patients requiring close observation increases, or when there is a need to temporarily increase the number of beds in response to high levels of admissions to the hospital.
All our staff are supported and encouraged to raise any concerns about staffing levels with their matron or the site manager and then prompt action can be taken to make sure patients receive safe and effective care.