Safe Staffing

Patient and nurseThe Safe Staffing initiative is part of the NHS response to the Francis Report which called for greater openness and transparency in the health service. From April 2014, it became a national requirement for all hospitals to publish information regarding staffing levels on each ward each month.

The published information lists the number of nurses, midwifes and care staff (planned and actual) working on each ward, together with the percentage of shifts meeting safe staffing guidelines.

The results are available through the NHS Choices website, on our website and daily on boards for patients and visitors at every ward. We also report this at our Trust Board meetings.

What is safe staffing?

Safe staffing relies on good management so that posts are filled and organised effectively and the staff employed are available to work. We have a duty to ensure nursing and midwifery staffing levels are sufficient to maintain safety and provide quality care. There is a growing body of research evidence which shows that nurse staffing levels make a difference to patient outcomes, patient experience, quality and efficiency of patient care.

Why are we doing this?

The intention of this is to show how trusts across the NHS ensure the safety of their staffing levels and skill mix. The Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) for England with the National Quality Board (NQB) and the Trust Development Authority (TDA), produced guidance in December 2013 for Trusts which sought to support organisations in making the right decisions to create supportive environments where their staff are able to provide compassionate care. The report identifies the themes, expectations, process, actions and leads. The key priorities are:

  • monthly workforce reporting to the Trust Board
  • six monthly establishment reviews
  • displaying planned versus actual staffing numbers in clinical areas
  • publication of monthly workforce data on the trust’s public facing website


We have a system in place for monitoring staffing on a daily basis. There is also a process for escalating any concerns and ensuring actions are taken. The patients are closely monitored on how sick or dependent they are as this ultimately affects that type and amount of care they need.

Setting establishments is complex and having the right staff, with the right skills, in the right place is about more than the numbers and type of staff (registered and unregistered) but is also about leadership, culture, support and education.


Download Safe Staffing data:


Download Monthly Workforce Report: