Department of Health written question – answered on 23rd February 2015.

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Photo of Luciana Berger Luciana Berger Shadow Minister (Public Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, which hospitals have not met their staffing requirements for registered nurse day hours in each month since May 2010.

Photo of Daniel Poulter Daniel Poulter The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

The information is not available for the period requested. As part of our drive to make the National Health Service more transparent NHS England introduced mandatory reporting of monthly actual and planned nursing and midwifery staffing levels by hospital wards in May 2014.

In November 2013 the National Quality Board (NQB) supported by Jane Cummings, the Chief Nursing Officer for England, published guidance on How to ensure the right people, with the right skills, are in the right place at the right time’. The guidance specifies that the skill mix of the workforce should reflect the patient care needs and local requirements, considering the experience and capabilities of the workforce employed. The skill mix should reflect outcome indicators such as incidents of harm, patient experience and staff experience. Each ward has to identify the appropriate knowledge and nursing skill mix required in the team to meet the nursing needs of the ward's patients, with registered nurses remaining accountable for the overall care and safety of patients.

NHS trust boards are required to scrutinise exception reports on any variations in actual versus planned, as part of the Board’s responsibility for assuring safe staffing. Reports to Trust Boards must meet the requirements set out in the NQB guidance. Trusts will triangulate the safe staffing fill rate with other indicators for example outcome indicators of safety – levels of harm, staff and patient feedback. Boards must 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 organisations is sufficient. These staffing decisions will then be subject to external scrutiny and challenge by commissioners, regulators and the public, and inspection by the Chief Inspector of Hospitals.

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