Policy briefing

Ensuring safe staffing in emergency departments

Guidelines to help hospitals with workforce planning and staff deployment

Guidelines to help hospitals with workforce planning and staff deployment

Essential information

Safe staffing means having enough nursing staff with the right skills and knowledge, in the right place, at the right time. Concerns about inadequate staffing levels have affected all services in the NHS, including increasingly over-stretched emergency departments (EDs).

Last September, the RCN published the results of a survey of 30,000 members of staff which found that 58% reported a shortfall by at least one nurse on their last NHS shift.

While Wales has introduced some safe staffing legislation, and Scotland has started this process, it does not apply to EDs. England and Northern Ireland have no plans for legislation.

What’s new?

Safe staffing guidance for urgent and emergency care services in England has been published by NHS Improvement.

The guidelines call for

...

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