“A hospital is to put up signs on each ward telling patients the number of nurses on duty – so they can see when they are understaffed.
Each ward at Salford Royal will soon have a whiteboard telling patients and relatives the number of nurses and healthcare assistants who should be on duty – and how many there actually are at work.
Due to be rolled out in coming weeks across the hospital, it aims to give greater openness on how the hospital is doing to make sure wards are properly staffed.
It is believed to be the first hospital in the country to make staffing levels for each ward public – and bosses believe others may follow suit.”
– The transparency is to be applauded. When I was last an in-patient, in 2012, nurses confided that they were under orders not to tell us when the shift was under-staffed. “But we can see that for ourselves!” replied one sensible old gaffer as the only nurse on duty rushed about doing the meds single-handed one morning.
But what are the consequences for patients of seeing this written on the wall? How would you feel if you saw ‘Safe level of nursing – 3; Actual level of nursing – 1’?
Don’t know about you, but I’d be inclined to panic, consider the option of simply fleeing, after which I would make an almighty fuss demanding to see Matron, the Chief of Nursing Staff, the Chief Executive, Chairman of the Trust Board, and anyone got the number of the local paper?
Maybe that’s the idea. Get patient riled enough to demand the shortage be fixed whatsoever the cause? If that is the purpose then they had better be ready for the consequences.
Addendum: Assuming they have thought this through, the board should also say “If you are concerned about current nursing levels this is who you should speak to…[Sister/Matron/PALS etc].” Otherwise you just leave people hanging, with information but not knowing what to do with it. Have asked Salford to comment.