Delivering excellent care with compassion is one of our key priorities at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust. Ensuring our wards and departments are safely staffed is one of the ways in which we will deliver this priority.
Safe nursing and midwifery staffing means that we have the right staff in the right place at the right time to provide the care that you, your family or your friends need.
From June 2014, all NHS Trusts are required to publish staffing levels as part of the NHS response to the Francis report, which called for greater openness and transparency in the NHS. Our staffing levels are published on NHS Choices website from the 16th of each month. A safe staffing dashboard is presented to our Trust Board each month and a detailed paper is presented to our Safety and Quality Committee each month.
How do we know how many staff are needed on each ward?
Each ward or department is made up of a number of qualified nurses and midwives and trained support workers. Each ward or department is led by a senior sister or charge nurse, supported by a junior sister or charge nurse.
We review nursing and midwifery staffing and skill mix every 6 months. As a result of these reviews we have invested in staffing every year.
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.
What is being done to recruit enough nurses?
A very proactive approach to recruiting nurses and midwives has been in place for the past 2 years and this is supported by a Recruitment Strategy and action plan.
- There is a rolling programme for recruitment of staff nurses and healthcare 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 attend recruitment fairs at regional universities and healthcare events.
- We hold recruitment events and open days for each Division throughout the year.
- We link with European Universities for nurse graduate schemes.
- 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 and midwives 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 re-adjust the staffing in each area in order to best meet the needs of patients.
We display our staffing numbers daily on each of our wards and departments and provide support.