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Safer Staffing

We are committed to ensuring that all our clinical areas are staffed at the appropriate and safe level to provide quality care to everyone every time.   For our In-patient areas we plan to publish information about staffing, monthly in line with national requirements.

The staffing on In-Patient Wards and Units varies depending on the usual workload of the area and the assessment of patients undertaken by the Ward Sister or Manager in charge.  In some areas this can fluctuate throughout the week because the workload is known to rise and fall.  In other areas there will be a steady staffing state.  In addition there will be changes made because the patients are more acutely ill for a period of time.

We are using evidence based tools to help us understand the acuity and dependency of our patients.

  • Acuity – this is how seriously ill a patient is and how much specialised treatment they might need. For example a patient in Intensive Care will be a patient with a high acuity score and will need specialised nursing care from an intensive care team.
  • Dependency – this is how dependant a patient is, on nursing care, for their basic needs.  For example a patient with dementia may need more nurses to help them to wash, dress, or help with feeding. This may require two general nurses to keep the patient safe and well cared for.

As you walk around St. Mary’s Hospital and Sevenacres you will notice that each in-patient ward or Unit has an information board which tells you about what staff are planned to be on the shift, and what staff are in place. For example, we will identify how many registered nurses we have planned for and how many we actually have, and the same for the Health Care Assistants.

If we find that we are suddenly short of staff because someone has gone off sick the Nurse in Charge will make an assessment of the acuity and dependency of the patients and make a decision about what to do.  To ensure we have the best staffing levels on each are we can move staff from one area to another, we can ask for additional staff from our ‘staff bank’ or we can manage the workload in a different way.

If you have any concerns about staffing on the In-patient areas you can speak to the Nurse in Charge, or to our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS), which is located in the foyer at the front entrance to St. Mary’s Hospital.

Information on our staffing is presented in two ways:

  • A monthly staffing report provided to our Trust Board which includes explanations about the data.
  • Our monthly UNIFY report which shows the planned and actual staffing levels for each ward (this is the monthly data return to the Department of Health)

The latest reports are available to download at the bottom of this page.    Reports going further back can be found as part of the Trust Board papers.

Information is also available on the NHS Choices website at


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