Safer Staffing

Setting safe staffing levels in inpatient wards

Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust provides inpatient care in 13 community hospitals and 8 mental health wards across the county of Somerset. In April 2014 the Government asked all Trusts to review their nursing and health care assistant staffing levels on each of their wards in order to make sure that every ward has the right number of staff to care for patients at all times of the day .

Why are staffing levels important?

Our patients and our own staff tell us how important it is to them to have the right number of nurses and health care assistants on duty in order to make sure that they have enough time to care for patients as well as important time to talk and listen to patients and their relatives . We also know from research that the quality of care can be affected if there is not enough staff on duty, and this can, for example, lead to higher than expected numbers of falls, pressure ulcers and poor communication with patients and their relatives.

Somerset Partnership has robust processes in place to ensure that we have enough staff for every shift. Wherever possible we prefer to use our own nurses and health care assistants as they are familiar with the wards and the Trust, but there are occasions, such as when staff are sick , when we have to use temporary staff from our own bank of internal staff, or when this is not possible we use agency staff. We monitor this very carefully and report this to our Trust board.

Setting staffing levels

In May this year, our Director of Nursing recommended the staffing levels for each ward in the Trust and these were approved by the Trust board at their meeting on 27 May 2014. You can find a copy of this report here

Staffing levels for each ward will be reviewed and updated every six months, with the updated report listed below:

Have you any questions about staffing levels?

For more information about staffing levels in any of our hospitals please contact our senior nursing team by either emailing pals@sompar.nhs.uk or telephoning the PALS officer on 01278 432 022.