NHS Employers responds to Unison’s survey on staffing ratios

Sue Covill

19 / 4 / 2013 Midnight

Sue Covill says abitrary national minimum staff ratios would limit how hospitals could plan resources in a way that's best for patients.

Responding to Unison’s publication of ‘Patient and nursing care at breaking point’ on 19 April 2013 and the union’s call for minimum staff to patient ratios, Sue Covill, director of employment services at the NHS Employers organisation, said: 

"Every hospital has different demands on its services and we should be alert to the dangers of some 'one size fits all' approaches. We believe arbitrary national minimum staffing ratios would limit how hospitals could plan resources in a way that's best for their patients.

"Getting care right all the time is what we strive for and this means matching the skills of staff to the needs of patients, within a culture of compassion and diligence. The best decisions can only be made by looking at the healthcare team as a whole, which means addressing the balance between nurses, doctors, support staff and many others.

“We are pleased that the Government’s response to the Francis report supports our view that it is local NHS organisations which are best placed to take responsibility for minimum staffing levels and skill mix.

“And we would support the further development of the evidence base for making decisions about safe staffing levels which is being developed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).”

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