Staffing Levels Board: have you got yours yet?

“How many nurses should be on duty, and how many are there actually on the ward?” Salford Royal Hospital managed to answer this question when they have chosen to equip their wards with Visual System Healthcare’s Quality and Safety Boards. Salford has recently transformed itself from a zero-rated trust to one of the best hospitals in the UK, thanks to the innovative ideas of its staff that were put into practice in 2013 with the help of Visual Systems Healthcare.

The Ward Information Board and Staffing Board presented on the BBC News and ITV News in 2013 were designed by a group of nurses at Salford Hospital. The boards were custom manufactured by Visual Systems Healthcare, who also supplied the hospital with other patient experience and ward efficiency improving products.

The Staffing Board is aimed at addressing the under-staffing issues highlighted in the Francis Report. As it is now essential and required that patients and visitors are aware of how many staff are required in the provision of care, staffing boards provide a simple and effective tool to present important information about planned and actual staffing levels.

The nurses’ brilliant initiative was welcomed by Prime Minister, David Cameron, who visited the ward to congratulate them for their achievement. “Salford has been held up as a model by the government, an establishment from which others can learn” (BBC, 2013).

The boards were placed at the entrance to each Ward for maximum impact. Stephen Dorrell, chairman of the Health Select Committee, said he was not calling for minimum nurse staffing levels or advocating “nurse numbers to be mandated by Westminster” but that it was important that transparency and openness be paramount in the NHS.  Read the full Guardian article here.

New research published by the `Safe Staffing Alliance at King’s College London advise a Registered Nurse to patient ratio of no less than 1 to 8 to ensure adequate patient care. Both the Department of Health and the Royal College of Nursing have reported studies showing a direct correlation between higher levels of nursing staff and the `Improved Patient Outcomes, `Improvement in Retention of Nursing Staff and `Economic benefits to Employers and Communities (RCN 2010).  A recent report published by the `Nursing Times` (13/5/13) gives voice to senior nurses’ warnings on staffing levels. Click here for the full article.