Response to the CNO’s letter on Safe Staffing

12 June 2015

The Council of Deans of Health has responded to the Chief Nursing Officer in England’s open letter on the suspension of work by NICE on safe nurse staffing.

Professor Dame Jessica Corner, Chair of the Council, said:

‘Although it is helpful to have more detail on the plans for this work, we remain concerned that there is no firm assurance of its independence or of a clear plan for the rigorous weighing of evidence that is required for robust advice to the system.’

‘No one denies the importance of the full healthcare team for delivering care but as Lord Carter’s Interim Report showed yesterday, there is no substitute for a lack of registered nurses.’

The letter states that there is little research or evidence into what safe staffing looks like for care settings outside acute wards.

Professor Corner said:

‘Far from allowing a retreat from rigorous assessment of the evidence, the argument that the evidence base is weak should be taken as a call to action for a strong, funded programme of research that would answer these questions. NHS England’s ambition should be to lead the way worldwide in understanding the impact of staffing levels on quality of care and in putting that evidence into practice.’

-ENDS-

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Notes to editors:

  1. CNO’s safe staffing letter to Directors of Nursing and other stakeholders
  2. The Council of Deans of Health is the voice of the deans and heads of UK university faculties for nursing, midwifery and the allied health professions. For further information: councilofdeans.org.uk
  3. For more information on this press release, please call 07805 873882 or contact Jonathan Eames, Project and Communications Officer, Council of Deans of Health
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