Posted on January 23, 2014

Calls for staff level monitoring throughout NHS

The monitoring of safe staffing levels should not just apply to nurses in the NHS, according to MPs. The government's Health Select Committee has suggested that this policy should be extended to midwives and doctors, particularly in relation to A&E care.  The committee also wants to be able to have automatic inspections by the official regulator if any hospital or department breaches the standard staffing levels.  At the present time it is only nursing levels that need to be monitored. The new system of monitoring is due to come into effect in April, but the committee sees no reason why it cannot also apply to other staff members and even to social care.  The statement comes as the committee recognises that there is a shortage of doctors at all levels within A&E departments, and the College of Emergency Medicine has released figures to support this.  Its current recommendations are that standard-size A&E departments should have ten consultants and that larger departments should have 16, although the national average is just eight.  With the current climate of cost improvement programmes and budget cuts, it is not clear if this will change. The suggestions have been included in a report on the progression of the Care Quality Commission (CQC).  In the past the CQC has been criticised for having a 'tick box culture', but MPs are pleased with recent changes and progress.  The CQC is currently recruiting more inspectors in order to continue with this progress and has welcomed the positive comments in the report.
National Framework Supplier