The scandal behind a deferred A&E staffing level target?

Is there a scandal behind a deferred target. In 2015 Nice withdrew the standards for staffing levels. A&E staff should rightly be concerned, as should their patients. Trust Boards might find insurance liability was impossible if they fail to reach the staffing levels which should have been recommended by now, because there are too few. No wonder NHS England pulled the plug on NICE planned honesty. A “freedom of information” request has gone to NICE asking for details of the meeting when the decision not to publish was taken, and minutes of any subservient or preliminary meetings. This was a politically driven decision from an organisation which prides itself on the evidence. The fact that we are at least 50,000 staff short should not be relevant.

Dennis Campbell in The Guardian on 4th June 2015 reported this: NHS patient safety fears as health watchdog scraps staffing guidelines and NICE blamed NHS England: NHS England asks NICE to suspend safe staffing programme

Nice says it has stopped devising ratios of nurses to patients, as recommended in the report into Mid Staffs scandal, with NHS England taking over the work

NICE website reads: (July 2014)

Francis report on Mid Staffordshire (Francis 2013)

The need for guidelines on safe staffing, including nursing staff, was also highlighted in the recent policy documents and responses:

On 18th January 2016 NICE released ” safe staffing evidence reviews “ as a result of FOI requests.

In Maternity care: Safe midwifery staffing for maternity settings was published Feb 2015 12m ago

Shaun Lintern in the Nursing Times 30th July reports: NICE abandons plan to publish A&E safe staffing guidance

Charlie Copper in the Independent reported 14th October 2015: NHS held back report into unsafe hospitals minutes after email exchange with Jeremy Hunt

James Meikle in The Guardian 10th July 2015 reported: Nice to publish report on NHS staffing levels despite being told to stop work

Ministers and NHS bosses face an embarrassing row over safe staffing levels for nurses in hospital A&E departments in England after it emerged that the government body told to stop work in this area is going to publish its recommendations anyway.

The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (Nice), which is legally independent of the NHS, plans to release its work at the end of the month.

It is also continuing evidence reviews for staffing mental health care for both inpatients and those in the community, for learning disability services and for other community health services.

The move, revealed by the Health Service Journal (HSJ), comes a month after news that NHS England, which is far more tightly controlled by the Department of Health (DH), had decided to take such work in-house.

When is a target/standard not a standard? When it’s changed as “unrealistic” and NICE says so? NHS patient safety fears as health watchdog scraps staffing guidelines

You cannot miss a target that is not in place

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This entry was posted in A Personal View, Consultants, General Practitioners, Junior Doctors, NHS managers, Post Code Lottery, Professionals, Rationing, Stories in the Media, Trust Board Directors on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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