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MP welcomes move to release staffing levels on hospital wards

February 26, 2014 11:16 AM

Tim and the Lib Dems at WGHSouth Lakes MP Tim Farron has welcomed the news that the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust, will start publishing staffing levels from April. Tim said this is 'another welcome step in restoring public confidence'.

Last November, Tim called for the hospital trusts to publish monthly details of whether they have enough nurses on their wards. Tim has called for this in light of Care Quality Commission reports that concluded insufficient staffing levels in the medical unit at Royal Lancaster Infirmary could have put patients at risk.

From April, patients will be able to see the numbers on a new national safety website. There will be no national minimum staffing standard, but it is likely to include recommended nurse-to-patient ratios for different types of ward. The news was announced in the Trust's first "Friday message" to staff from Chief Executive Jackie Daniel.

The announcement forms part of the government's response to the public inquiry into the Stafford Hospital scandal. Ministers have also announced:

• Hospitals will have to produce quarterly reports on how they are handling complaints and clearly set out how patients can raise them.

• A legal duty of candour on organisations to be open and honest about mistakes.

• A criminal offence of wilful neglect to hold staff to account.

• A "fit and proper person's test" so managers who have failed in past will be barred from taking up posts.

• A care certificate to ensure healthcare assistants and social care workers have the right skills and training.

• Every patient should have the names of a responsible consultant and nurse listed above their bed.

Tim said: "Staffing levels are not the be all and end all, but they are an indicator of the quality of care available. The staff that work in our hospitals are amazing and deserve to be praised to the hilt. I hope that these figures will allow the public to see what is happening on the ward.

"The new hospitals trust management is starting to really turn our trust around and I hope that when these figures are published that will be yet another indicator of their progress."