Hospitals falling short of planned nurse numbers

The HSJ has published data showing that the number of hospitals falling short of their planned nurse staffing by 10 per cent or more has almost tripled in five years.

HSJ undertook an analysis of unpublished workforce data, which reveals that the gap between the number of nurses hospitals think they need, and what they are able to staff the hospital with, has grown since 2014. 

The workforce data was obtained via a freedom of information request to NHS England as currently published data now combines nurse numbers with other nursing care professionals, thus masking the true numbers of trained nurses on a shift.

The number of hospital trusts reporting a shortfall of 10 per cent or more on their day shifts nearly tripled, up from 20 in June 2014 to 55 in June 2019. However, there was a small improvement over the year to June 2019, although HSJ notes that the reason for which is unclear.

Notably, in every single month from 2014 to June 2019, a majority of hospitals fell short of their planned nurse staffing number. Experts said the data showed that the NHS was “drifting into massive skill mix change” as hospitals overstaff with support workers, while having to run shortfalls of nurses, despite evidence, this has a “detrimental impact on patient outcomes including survival”.

Full story in The HSJ, 24 October 2019