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Datix reports ignored or discouraged as staffing crisis grows

Safety concerns prompted by staffing issues are being ignored and nurses dissuaded from filing reports as NHS struggles to operate safely amid workforce crisis

Safety concerns prompted by staffing issues are being ignored and nurses dissuaded from filing reports as NHS struggles to operate safely amid workforce crisis

Nurses are being discouraged from reporting safety concerns linked to staffing levels as the NHS continues to face a dire workforce crisis, it has been claimed.

Nurses feel undervalued as Datix reports ignored by management

Nurses also said reports on Datix – the incident reporting software used by most NHS trusts – were often being ignored by management.

Usually, any Datix incident report should be reviewed by senior staff to see if any action is needed to address the safety concerns. But some nurses are claiming that reports are either discouraged, branded a ‘pointless exercise’,

Safety concerns prompted by staffing issues are being ignored and nurses dissuaded from filing reports as NHS struggles to operate safely amid workforce crisis

Photo of a nurse using a computer at a desk: safety concerns prompted by staffing issues are being ignored and nurses dissuaded from filing reports
Picture: iStock

Nurses are being discouraged from reporting safety concerns linked to staffing levels as the NHS continues to face a dire workforce crisis, it has been claimed.

Nurses feel undervalued as Datix reports ignored by management

Nurses also said reports on Datix – the incident reporting software used by most NHS trusts – were often being ignored by management.

Usually, any Datix incident report should be reviewed by senior staff to see if any action is needed to address the safety concerns. But some nurses are claiming that reports are either discouraged, branded a ‘pointless exercise’, or else are disregarded, leaving them feeling undervalued and invisible.

One nurse said on Twitter: ‘For three weeks after every shift, I stayed on for 50 mins doing multiple Datix for episodes of potentially unsafe care to highlight the need for more staff in a particular area of the department.

‘[I had] no communications back from management on the spike in reports from one person in such a short time.’

Another nurse told Nursing Standard she would not be discouraged from logging an incident as, even if they are ignored, it leaves documentation and a record for any future issues.

‘I probably send more than any of my colleagues, but no one will ever convince me otherwise,’ she said.

‘They are vital for any learning that needs to take place, especially for incidents such as never events or halt events. Not to mention that if it continues to happen there needs to be a trail of documents to refer to as proof.’

The claims come as the NHS is facing unprecedented summer pressures, with NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire becoming the latest trust to declare a critical incident over patient safety, asking people to only come to the emergency department with ‘genuine emergencies’.

Red flag: dropping Datix shows a disregard for safety, says workforce expert

A cross-party report from the House of Commons health and social care committee this week warned that the NHS in England is facing ‘the greatest workforce crisis in history’. It found severe staff shortages across the health sector with no clear strategy from the government on tackling the workforce crisis.

London South Bank University chair of healthcare and workforce modelling Alison Leary said that Datix reports being overlooked or discouraged was deeply concerning for staff and patients.

‘It seems common practice to discourage people from incident reporting on safe staffing, to disregard incident reports or make it very difficult to report safe staffing concerns,’ she said.

‘This is a red flag in terms of safety cultures. Incident reporting is meant to be an opportunity to improve safety. ‘Once it is disregarded in this way it sends a message that the organisation does not value safety.’


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