Hospitals in England have been told they must publish staff numbers on a monthly basis.

By the end of April next year hospitals will be asked to upload data onto a new website, which will be run by either NHS England or the Care Quality Commission.

The move is one of the measures proposed by Robert Francis QC who carried out the public inquiry into Stafford Hospital.

The information provided will include daily staffing levels on each ward and will be updated monthly. It is also thought other statistics such as death rates and complaints will be published.

Although there is currently no national minimum staffing standard, the website will suggest acceptable nurse to staff ratios for different wards. This will allow the public to compare the actual number of staff on duty with the recommended staffing levels.

There has been intense debate as to whether or not hospitals should publish staffing levels, as called for by the Francis Inquiry and the Safe Staffing Alliance. The argument has been fuelled by official figures which show around 3,000 nursing posts have been lost in recent years.

Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer, said: “We have very clear evidence of a link between appropriate staffing and the outcomes of our patients. Patients and the public are therefore entitled to know that we have the right number of people in place to provide safe, quality care.”

Staff shortages

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