Safe consistent clinical and care processes across health and social care settings
Some ideas that your team could try:
The sections below provide more information about why these are important. You will find practical examples, evidence, tools, templates and training resources that you could use to support your improvements.
- Why safe staffing is important
Effective staffing means having the right numbers of the right people, in the right place at the right time. It is not as simple as having enough staff, but also ensuring that they have suitable knowledge, skill and experience to deliver safe care and treatment. Real-time staffing assessment (as part of the safety huddle process) supports the delivery of high quality health and care services.
Part two of the Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Act 2019 places a duty on NHS boards and agencies to have real time staffing assessment, mitigation and escalation procedures in place. This legislation has not yet been enacted. For more information on meeting Act obligations and the support available from HIS and your Board Workforce Lead, please click here.
The real-time staffing risk assessment (undertaken at least once daily) provides a structured approach to evaluating immediate workload, with available staffing, to risk assess the requirement for any mitigating actions or escalation of risk. This process addresses the fundamental question of is it ‘safe to start’ delivering care, and if not, how we address the identified issues and risks.
- Evidence, examples and training resources to support safe staffing
There is some evidence available to demonstrate that higher registered staffing levels in healthcare are associated with better patient outcomes and improved quality of care including:
- lower risks of in-hospital mortality
- shorter lengths of stay, and
- fewer omissions of necessary care.
The association between nurse staffing and omissions in nursing care: A systematic review. Griffiths P., Recio-Saucedo A., Dall'Ora C., Briggs J., Maruotti A., Meredith P., Smith G.B., Ball J., Missed Care Study Group. J. Adv. Nurs. 2018;74(7):1474–1487.
Nurse-patient ratios as a patient safety strategy: a systematic review. Shekelle P.G. Ann. Intern. Med. 2013;158(5 Pt 2):404–409.
- Templates and tools to support safe staffing
There are various resources available to help with workload and workforce planning as well as risk mitigation and escalation. To learn more about staffing tools and methodologies, please click here.
Examples of real-time staffing risk assessment templates (safety huddle) can be found at: Coronavirus (COVID-19): care home staffing and escalation resources.