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Trusts must now publish staffing data

Staffing information about nurses, midwives and care staff deployed for each shift must now be displayed in all NHS trusts with inpatient areas.

Trusts have until the end of June to comply with the new ‘Hard Truths’ commitments, under guidance issued by NHS England and Care Quality Commission.

Jane Cummings, chief nursing officer for England, and Professor Sir Mike Richards, chief inspector of hospitals at the Care Quality Commission (CQC), stated that research demonstrates that staffing levels are linked to the safety of care and that staff shortfalls increase the risks of patient harm and poor quality care, in a letter to trust CEOs and FTs.

“Patients and the public have a right to know how the hospitals they are paying for are being run, and so the government has made a number of commitments in Hard Truths: The Journey to Putting Patients First to make this information more publically available,” they added.

A report describing staffing capacity and capability must be presented to the board every six months.

Trusts have been advised that, for those wards where staffing levels fall short of what is required to provide quality care, they must review reasons for the gap, assess the impact and ensure actions are being taken to address it. This report must be presented to the board every month.

Following this, the monthly report must also be published on the trust’s website, and they will be expected to link or upload the report to the relevant hospital’s webpage on NHS Choices.

Cummings and Prof Richards added, “Boards must, at any point in time, be able to demonstrate to their commissioners that robust systems and processes are in place to assure themselves that the nursing, midwifery and care staffing capacity and capability in their organisation is sufficient to provide safe care.

“Monitor has worked with us in the development of this guidance and expects Foundation Trusts to have the right staff, in the right place at the right time. The CQC will be looking for compliance with all the actions outlined as part of their inspection regime. Monitor will act where the CQC identifies any deficiencies in staffing levels in Foundation Trusts.”