Somerset’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), the GP led organisation responsible for the planning and funding of Somerset’s Health Services, has welcomed the recent publication of hospital and mental health ward staffing levels.
The publication of staffing levels on district hospital, mental health and community hospital wards aims to bring another level of reassurance to patients and their families about the performance of local health facilities.
In January this year the government published its response to the failings that occurred at the Mid Staffordshire Hospital NHS Trust. Called, “Hard Truths: The Journey to Putting Patients First”, they acknowledge that a significant factor contributing to poor care was the unsafe levels of staffing at the hospital.
As part of a national drive to improve service quality and safety, the government now requires all NHS Trust’s to publish staffing levels of nurses, midwives and care staff on their wards.
The latest data shows what the average nurse, midwife and care staff level by hospital and wards over a month compared with the planned level. Figures are also broken down by hours over each day and night.
The ‘planned’ level is the level agreed by the hospital’s Trust Board and based upon the evidence gathered from typical staffing level requirements for each ward. This is compared to the actual staffing level achieved for each shift on the ward
From the end of the June 2014, Trust patient to staffing levels will be published on their web sites and on the national NHS Choices web site (www.nhs.uk).
For some time, Somerset CCG has been working with all NHS hospital and community service providers in Somerset to promote openness and transparency. This includes reporting incidents that result in harm and errors in healthcare. It has also started reporting these to the Somerset County Council’s People and Policies Scrutiny Committee.
The CCG’s approach is intended to build a patient safety culture throughout the health care system. The publishing of ward staffing levels, together with key indicators of the quality and safety of healthcare, support a national and local commitment to provide more information to patients about the safety of their health services.
Somerset CCG’s Director of Patient Safety, Lucy Watson, said: “The staffing position within Somerset’s hospital wards shows little variation of actual staffing levels against those planned by the Trusts. All health services actively manage the staffing levels to meet the needs of patients on a daily basis.
“We are on a journey to provide information about the safety and quality of healthcare and one indicator or piece of information on its own will not reflect the context or complexity of patient care. This information adds to the performance data already published that shows local hospitals have good incident reporting and low levels healthcare acquired infections, patient falls and pressure ulcers.
“Publication of staffing data adds another layer of information for the public to review and help them get a better understanding of the performance of their local hospitals. By considering everything from infection and cleanliness rates to a hospital’s Friends and Family Test feedback, we hope patients and their families will gain a better insight into the many different aspects of performance which go to make up a high quality service.
“Such knowledge can encourage patients and their families to ask questions and to be an active partner in their health care and treatment.”
Local safer staffing data can be found on the following NHS Trust web sites:
Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust (Musgrove Park Hospital)
Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust