Editorial

Survey findings offer glimmer of hope on safe staffing levels

NHS Inpatient Survey results show gradual increase in respondents' confidence

How should we measure whether there are enough nurses on duty to cover a ward or care home, or on hand to meet the needs of patients who require care at home? There are many potential answers to that question, but no single, straightforward solution to ensuring there are enough staff with the right skills to deliver safe and effective care.

Among the various metrics that might be used to establish safe staffing levels is asking patients themselves whether there are enough nurses on duty to care for them.

Fortunately that question is already asked every year as part of the NHS Inpatient Survey, and the most recent results were published on 8 June.

The findings offer a glimmer of hope that the picture is improving. Back in 2006, only 56% of respondents agreed there were enough nurses on duty, but by 2014 that figure had risen

How should we measure whether there are enough nurses on duty to cover a ward or care home, or on hand to meet the needs of patients who require care at home? There are many potential answers to that question, but no single, straightforward solution to ensuring there are enough staff with the right skills to deliver safe and effective care.

Among the various metrics that might be used to establish safe staffing levels is asking patients themselves whether there are enough nurses on duty to care for them.

Fortunately that question is already asked every year as part of the NHS Inpatient Survey, and the most recent results were published on 8 June.

The findings offer a glimmer of hope that the picture is improving. Back in 2006, only 56% of respondents agreed there were enough nurses on duty, but by 2014 that figure had risen to 60%, and by the time of the 2015 survey it had increased further to 62%. That is still not good enough, but the progress is welcome.

You will have noticed that Nursing Standard has changed, whether you are reading this on our new-look website or the redesigned print journal. The changes are the result of research involving the nursing community, with a view to ensuring we are meeting your needs online and on paper.

Among the requests has been for us to reflect patients’ views on nursing care, so you will find a new column that involves a service user writing about excellent practice. Please send us other examples of such practice-related feedback.

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