Demanding safe staffing levels to ensure quality nursing care

Leaked NICE guidelines reveal need for more staff

Accident and Emergency departments may be too short-staffed to cope with demand "almost half of the time", says suppressed guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

The six documents (see below) amount to all of the unpublished safe staffing work by NICE that the government originally refused to publish but which has now been leaked by the HSJ.

Susan Osborne, chair of the Safe Staffing Alliance, commented: 'We need to campaign to ensure the NHS uses the completed A&E guideline for its workforce planning in A&E departments.

'We also want to see that other sectors use the evidence reviews to devise research and studies that might help us get to a place where we can see something similar to A&E and acute wards put in place.'

The report recommends that A&Es should build in a "margin of safety" into staffing plans, even if this means they are overstaffed during quiet periods.

Read the full documents

Safe staffing for nursing in A&E departments: the full NICE safe staffing guideline (PDF)

Safe staffing for nursing in A&E departments ­ appendix 1: Evidence discussion and analysis (PDF)

Safe staffing for adult nursing care in community settings evidence review (PDF)

Safe staffing for nursing in A&E departments evidence review (PDF)

Safe staffing for nursing in Inpatient mental health evidence review (PDF)

Safe staffing management approaches evidence review (PDF)