The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Safe Staffing

As part of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals commitment to open and honest care, we are taking this opportunity to explain how we ensure safe nurse staffing within our hospitals.

What is safe nurse staffing?

Safe nurse staffing means that we have the right staff in the right place at the right time to provide the care that you or friends and relatives need.

How do we do this?

Each ward or department is made up of a number qualified nurses and trained support staff. They are led by a Senior Sister / Charge Nurse.

Each role has a different uniform so you can be clear about their position and role in your care.

How do we know how many staff are needed on a ward?

There are a variety of evidence based (tried and tested) tools that we use to measure the dependency and needs of our patients in our wards. There are different tools for different types of patient groups, for example, adult wards, emergency departments and maternity. For other areas where there are not yet tried and tested tools, staffing levels are based on professional judgement in conjunction with national guidance where this is available.

We measure the dependency of our patients twice a year, once in the summer and once in the winter. This ensures we understand our patients’ needs at very different points in the year. Our Board receives this information to ensure it understands nurse staffing at ward level and if there are problems, they understand what these are and can work towards a solution.

How do we monitor nurse staffing levels all year round?

We use a system on the wards called electronic rostering and through this we can monitor our nurse staffing levels on a shift-by-shift basis. We use this information to inform the Trust Board about the staffing levels each month. 

You can read more about this and see the monthly figures here.

How will I know if nurse staffing is correct on the ward I am in or visiting?

There are Patient Safety Information Boards on the wards that give important information about the quality of the care that each ward delivers. On these boards you will find information about the number of qualified and the numbers of support staff that should be on duty for that shift and the number that are on duty.

Where there are shortfalls, there is an escalation process (which is shown on the boards) explaining how we cover any shortfall that is required (there are times when the wards are quiet and less cover may be required, this is assessed by the Nurse in Charge and the Matron). This escalation process includes the Chief Nurse when needed. Please do ask the nursing staff on your ward about the information shown on their Patient Safety Information Boards.