Higher ratio of HCAs linked with increased mortality

New research into staffing levels within NHS hospitals has suggested a link between a higher proportion of healthcare assistants per patient and a rise in mortality.

In contrast, the study, which looked at 137 acute NHS trusts between 2009 and 2011, found an association between higher numbers of nurses and doctors per patient and a reduction in mortality.

The research comes as the NHS prepares for a new non-registered nursing associate role and a new care hours metric calculated by mixing HCAs and registered nurses together, which was recommended by last week’s Carter Review.

Professor Peter Griffiths, chair of health services research at the University of Southampton, which carried out the study alongside King’s College London, said trusts that employed more HCAs relative to the number of beds had an increased risk of mortality. The risk of death decreased by 7% for every additional bed per HCA.

For doctors the mortality risk increased by 8% for every additional medical bed and by 13% for every additional surgical bed.

Full story in The Nursing Times 10 February 2016