Safer staffing: nursing and midwifery

Evidence-based decision-making on safe and effective staffing is a requirement for all NHS organisations.

The information and resources on these safer staffing pages will support and enable NHS providers to make these decisions, and ensure safe, sustainable and productive workforce planning and compliance with annual governance reporting on safe staffing.


Developing workforce safeguards

This document provides a comprehensive set of guidelines on workforce planning and includes recommendations on reporting and governance approaches.

It also shares best practice on workforce decision-making, including stronger board engagement.

NHS providers are assessed against their compliance with the recommendations in this guidance to support a consistent approach to workforce decision-making.

National Quality Board guidance on safe staffing

This guidance sets out the National Quality Board’s expectations for nursing and midwifery staffing to help NHS provider boards make local decisions that will deliver high-quality care for patients within the available staffing resource.

This guidance should also be referred to when using our setting-specific safe staffing improvement resources.

Respiratory syncytial virus 2021 preparedness

Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) 2021 preparedness: children’s safer nurse staffing framework for inpatient care in acute hospitals guidance has been developed to support the redeployment planning processes to respond to the anticipated earlier and greater than usual increase in RSV and other respiratory illnesses in children, which could increase pressure on paediatric critical and inpatient care.

Safe staffing improvement resources for specific settings

Improvement resources that support and enable NHS providers to make safe and sustainable staffing decisions in specific care settings are available on this page.

Fundamentals of Safer Staffing Elearning

This elearning programme provides an overview of the essential components required for nursing or midwifery staff planning, known as establishment setting. It introduces the main principles and underpinning policy context and discusses the other considerations which need to be factored in. It describes the links with patient safety and quality care, staff deployment and what good governance looks like.

This six-module fundamental of safer staffing elearning programme accessible to all healthcare workers across the NHS, is made up of bitesize modules of 20 – 30 minutes educational content on main safer staffing principles. The modules contain an interactive knowledge check section and a learning path where the participants are encouraged to translate their newly acquired knowledge into practice.

The 6 modules are:

  • Essentials of safe staffing
  • Impact of safe staffing on quality and safety of patient care
  • Impact of policy on safe staffing
  • Erostering (right place and time)
  • Safer staffing governance
  • Safer staffing in maternity