Halting of NICE safe staffing guidance programme sparked nurse safety concerns

The suspension of safe staffing guidance produced by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has left almost three quarters of nurses worried that patient safety will suffer, a major UK survey has revealed.

After the work was brought to a halt by NHS England last year, organisations were told guidelines that had already been produced for acute adult inpatient wards and maternity units should be upheld.

However, only 17% of survey respondents working on an adult inpatient ward in an acute hospital in England said their organisation continued to use the guidance. Almost two-thirds – 61% – said they did not know whether their employer was continuing to use it or not.

The union Unison, which carried out the snapshot survey of 2,708 nurses on 9 February, said the suspension of the NICE guidance had caused “mass confusion” in acute settings.

Full Unison report Pushing the call button on unsafe staffing: who will come to our aid?

Full story in The Nursing Times 25 April 2016