New staffing guidance published to support providers and commissioners to make the right decisions about nursing, midwifery and care staffing capacity and capability

The National Quality Board, sponsored by Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer in England, has today published new guidance to support providers and commissioners to make the right decisions about nursing, midwifery and care staffing capacity and capability.

The guide:

  • outlines a set of expectations of providers and commissioners relating to staffing, and provides advice on how they can be met;
  • signposts readers to existing evidence-based tools and resources, and provides examples of good practice;
  • outlines individual responsibilities of different parts of the workforce in relating to staffing;
  • describes approaches to organisations reporting on staffing levels on a monthly basis; and
  • explains what national organisations will do to underpin the expectations.

Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer in England said:

“We have very clear evidence of a link between appropriate staffing and the outcomes of our patients.  This evidence must be used to set staffing levels locally.  Patients and the public are therefore entitled to know that we have the right number of people in place to provide safe, quality care every time.

“We first encouraged a move towards greater transparency on staffing levels in my nursing strategy, but we are now going further.  Hospitals will have to publish this information – at ward level – and present the evidence they have used to determine staffing levels in public.  That is the right way to ensure there is rigour around decisions that are taken, as well as to provide hospitals and other services with the flexibility they need to get the right staff in the right place.  We need the right level of staffing in every locality – and that cannot be mandated centrally.”


  1. Antonia Gabites says:

    We should be able to design a formula that calculates the basic, SAFE staffing levels. Wards should then be weighted for the type/s of patient each ward looks after. Information that should be included for this weighting is the Patient at Risk data, night reports, incident reporting data, and complaints.

  2. Nick Welch says:

    You may not be able to mandate the level of staffing as a carte blanche – but you can mandate the basic levels of care and nursing skills needed to maintain adequate, round the clock, 7-day a week care of patients to ensure that no patient is left untended and unmanaged. This needs commitment from commissioners, managers and nurses to work at individual ward level to provide the necessary service.