Analysing the implementation and effects of safe staffing policies in acute hospitals
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Analysing the implementation and effects of safe staffing policies in acute hospitals

Jane Ball Deputy head, School, Health Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, England

Several high-profile inquiries and reports, including the Report of the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust Public Inquiry, by Sir Robert Francis QC, have identified that nurse staffing is an essential factor in patient safety and patient mortality rates. Since the Francis report, several policies and initiatives aimed at ensuring safe staffing in the NHS have been developed alongside guidance and evidence-based safe staffing tools, while the Care Quality Commission has been tasked with ensuring compliance with these policies. In 2015, the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Policy Research Programme commissioned research to examine the extent to which safe staffing policies have translated into practice locally in the NHS. This article summarises and examines the main findings of this research and suggests that, although policies have raised the profile of nurse staffing, nursing shortages have impeded their implementation.

Nursing Management. 27, 3, 35-40. doi: 10.7748/nm.2020.e1904


Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software

Conflict of interest

None declared


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