Local judgement is crucial for setting safe NHS staffing levels

Hospital staff

12 / 5 / 2014 4.18pm

The NHS Employers organisation is emphasising the importance of local evidence and decisions, in response to the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence launch of a new public consultation on draft guidelines about safe staffing.

Dean Royles, chief executive of the NHS Employers organisation, said:

“Patient safety is at the heart of the NHS and it’s vital that decisions on staffing are made locally and at the point of care, using robust evidence and looking at the whole picture. This is no easy quick fix solution. It's not just about numbers but the right staff with the right skills.

“The consultation document produced by NICE collates existing evidence on safe nurse ratios  – and that local judgement is critical to safe care. A more sophisticated approach which recognises the value and contribution of the whole multi disciplinary healthcare team providing great care would have been more useful. If we don't recognise the significant contribution of staff like physiotherapists, dieticians, occupational therapists, healthcare scientists and speech therapists - all crucial to care of the elderly - we will lose them.

“We remain concerned that another national target will be hit but the point about what makes excellent care will be missed. It’s not just about numbers and it’s not just about nurses, as vital as they are.  More robust evidence shows the value of staff engagement and strong workforce systems and their contribution to effective care. We will continue to work with NICE to highlight all aspects of care making a real difference to patients – every day on every ward. Let's not miss this opportunity.”


Notes for editors:
• The NHS Employers organisation is the recognised body for employers in the NHS, supporting them to put patients first. See www.nhsemployers.org for more information.
• Follow NHS Employers on Twitter at @nhsemployers or follow Dean Royles, chief executive of the NHS Employers organisation, at @NHSE_Dean.
• A full list of NHS Employers press releases and statements can be accessed at our Media Centre.
Contact details:
If you have a media enquiry, please contact the press office:
Mike Foster
Senior Media Officer
NHS Employers
Tel: 020 7799 8671
Email: mike.foster@nhsemployers.org
For out of hours media enquiries, please contact the duty press officer on 07880 500 726.

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