Extend safe staffing levels across NHS, MPs recommend in CQC report

22 January 2014

Extend safe staffing levels across NHS, MPs recommend in CQC report

The Parliamentary Health Select Committee has suggested that safe staffing levels should be extended so that they not only deal with understaffed areas such as nursing, but also include midwives and doctors and to ensure that this is implemented specifically in A&E units.  MPs at the committee further added that breaches of these staffing levels should automatically lead to regulator inspections for failure to abide by the targets set.

Mistreatment.com had earlier discussed the news that nursing staffing levels had been significantly cut and the impact the reduction was having on patients. From those members of the public we had spoken to regarding the issue, it was clear that certain areas, such as district nursing, were being heavily affected.

Nursing staff levels have recently come under scrutiny and presently ministers have only ordered the monitoring and publishing of staff levels with regard to nurses only as of April. Though it was ordered subsequent to the Stafford Hospital scandal response, MPs are calling on the system to become the norm across the NHS and social care systems.

Committee chairman Stephen Dorrell said: "This should be applied across the delivery of health and care - doctors, midwives, practice nurses and social workers."Part of the difficulty in A&E is driven by the fact there are not enough doctors of all levels."

Staff shortages in the NHS outside nursing were made apparent by figures from the College of Emergency Medicine which showed that there was an unequal number of trainees, doctors and consultants in relation to the number of patients attending hospitals, and particularly in A&E units. Each A&E unit is recommended to have 10 consultants according to the recommendations of the college, with larger units having 16 consultants. The reality is that there are, on average, just 8 consultants per unit.

Labour MP Barbara Keeley, a member of the committee, added: "Staffing levels are absolutely fundamental. It is ludicrous not to be transparent about something that patients and their families can see every day."

The suggestion was put forward in a report that looked at the progress the Care Quality Commission has been making which has reshuffled its investigation teams, staff and internal structures to respond more robustly to NHS concerns in light of widespread criticism since its creation in 2009.

Mistreatment.com was created to listen to talk to people who feel that they had nobody at the NHS to listen to them when something went wrong. Members of the public who call through to us often want to raise an issue within NHS care so that somebody else is not affected the way their and their loved ones have been. Sometimes they call through to us to make a medical negligence claim because a financial settlement is needed to rebuild their life and to take care of their family. If you have experienced a form of medical mistreatment through emergency services, A&E or through surgery, for example, you can speak to the experts at Mistreatment.com