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Sarah Browne speaks on safe staffing in mental health and community health inpatient settings

Sarah BrowneSarah Browne

Sarah began her presentation by discussing how safer staffing has been seen as a priority area of work within South Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, covering mental health, learning disability, social care and community services across Bedfordshire, Essex, Luton and Suffolk.

“The challenges are evidence based tools - there are not many out there and in our organisation used a few and are developing them. The challenges - evidence based tools, national focus (the language), money, information systems and operational capacity.”

Sarah further focused on work undertaken which has followed the National Quality Board guidance ‘How to ensure the right people, with the right skills are in the right place at the right time. A guide to nursing, midwifery and care staffing capacity and capability’   and ‘Hard Truths Commitments’.

“Information systems - we have a number of different systems and getting them to talk to each other is a really challenge.”

“Getting engagement and getting staff on board has helped to overcome challenges. We are working longer hours it's not the usual 9-5 days as it use to be. For once we are really seeing engagement with clinical staff - staff are beginning to feel that they are being heard.”

The presentation covered the work undertaken across 48 inpatient areas (covering mental health and community health services) to review establishments as well as the daily work to ensure safe staffing on each shift. This includes practical experience and lessons learnt covering evidence based tools, professional judgement, engagement of staff and Board assurance.

“Some of our sites haven't had a review of staffing for years it is historical - I say about 25% had looked at staffing before we started all of this (again we are taking about really historical).”

“We are using tools and Triangulating data and using professional judgment to ensure safer staffing. We are still having problems with understanding the planned and actual data. We are asking staff to use evidence based tools for longer to get a snap shot of what is happening on the wards.”

“We are still learning and I think sharing what we are doing and sharing the tools is how we can understand were we should be.”

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Download: Sarah Browne's Presentation

24 September 2014

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