STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

Strength in Numbers dedicated to my late mother Kay

NHS patient safety fears as health watchdog scraps staffing guidelines

Nice says it has stopped devising ratios of nurses to patients, recommended in report into Mid Staffs scandal, with NHS England taking over the work

The NHS has been accused of backtracking on improvements to patient safety brought in after the Mid Staffordshire hospital scandal in an effort to tackle its escalating financial problems. The National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) watchdog has unexpectedly scrapped work to set out how many nurses are needed in different parts of hospitals to ensure safe patient care. The move drew sharp criticism from nurses’ leaders, patient safety campaigners and Sir Robert Francis, the QC whose official report into Mid Staffs recommended Nice draw up guidelines on NHS-wide safe staffing levels, because understaffing had contributed significantly to the scandal.

Nice – which is an independent body – said it had stopped devising a raft of patient to staff ratios intended to help guarantee patient safety in A&E units and mental health settings at the request of NHS England, which will now take over the work. However the fear is that NHS England will either introduce lower standards – in terms of the number of nurses required – that are cheaper for hospitals to meet, or that the guidelines on the safe number of nurses will be abandoned altogether.

Click on the link to read more

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jun/04/nhs-patient-safety-fears-nice-scrap-staffing-level-guidelines-mid-staffs-scandal

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Sir Robert Francis QC, whose report into the Mid Staffs scandal recommended staffing guidelines, has criticised the scrapping of the work. Photograph: Martin Godwin/Martin Godwin

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