Chief nurse says she will ‘step up efforts’ to increase staffing

NHS Improvement was aware of a significant decline in nurse staffing performance across English hospitals and its nursing director has said she will do more to try and increase nurse numbers in the NHS.

Ruth May, director of nursing at NHS Improvement, also said the regulator could not rule out agency spending caps as a potential cause of the problem, reported by HSJearlier this month.

Ninety-six per cent of hospitals missed their target for planned nurse staffing levels in October 2016, the worst performance since 2014-15.

Ms May said: “I personally need to step up my efforts to think about what we can do nationally to increase the amount of nurses that we have got.”

HSJ’s research into nurse staffing levels found the deterioration in performance accelerated after April 2016 when NHS Improvement capped agency spending by trusts and made it a requirement for agency staff to come from approved suppliers.

Full story in HSJ 31 January 2017