Safe staffing

Ensuring NHS providers are staffed with the appropriate number and mix of clinical professionals is vital to the delivery of quality care and in keeping patients safe from avoidable harm.

Through our Nursing Workforce Programme Board we have been working with a range of partners and experts to develop approaches that improve the supply and availability of nurses. The priorities from that work were outlined in the letter to Ian Cumming and Simon Stevens on 3 June 2015.

We are developing the plans to take forward the work on safe staffing for those working in mental health, urgent and emergency care, learning disability and community services. The staffing implications of any recommendations made by the Maternity Review will also be included.

The National Quality Board and its members will help oversee the programme, working closely with its members; NHS England, NHS Trust Development Authority, Monitor, Health Education England, the Care Quality Commission, NICE and the Department of Health.

More details will be published as the programme develops.

For further information please see the safe staffing letter from Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England, to directors of nursing at NHS Trusts, NHS Foundation Trusts and CCGs, 11 June 2015.

Existing NICE guidance for safe staffing in adult inpatient wards and in maternity settings

Our safe staffing programme will not in any way replace or change the NICE guidance that has already been issued. ‘Safe staffing for nursing in adult inpatient wards in acute hospitals’ (July 2014) and ‘Safe Midwife Staffing in Maternity Settings’ (February 2015) are important parts of our approach to ensuring safe and high quality care.

The next phase of our role in this area is focusing on new care areas and will not involve going back on the guidance already published.