HSJ’s roundup of Monday’s most important stories and analysis
- Today’s must know: Fewer than one in 10 hospitals meet their own nurse staffing targets
- Today’s talking point: Hospital inspections exceeded hotel and travel budget by four times
- Today’s risk: What impact will the devolution bill have on the NHS?
Our analysis of 225 hospitals sites in England has found more than nine out of 10 are failing to meet their own targets for the numbers of nurses working on wards.
In total, 92 per cent of hospitals failed to meet their planned nurse staffing levels during that day, with 81 per cent of hospitals failing to have enough registered nurses working at night.
HSJ was told by some nursing directors they were struggling to recruit nurses and the likes of Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals Trust are going overseas to find as many as 200 nurses.
Other nursing directors said they supported the new agency cap to try to bring nurses back into substantive roles but Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, told HSJ there was a lack of ”clarity and consistency” from the centre about how trusts should balance demand for nurses against the financial pressures on the system.
The data suggests trusts have seen their performance against planned staffing levels worsen compared to 2014, but it could also be the case that many hospitals have increased their staffing levels in the wake of the Francis report and NICE’s guidance on staffing in acute wards.
Our findings come at a time of a nursing shortage, meaning it is currently much harder for trusts to meet their increased staffing plans.
The regulator said the overspend occurred because its budget was based on its previous, lighter touch inspection regime, and that the budget was increased in 2015-16 accordingly.
However, in the first half of this year the hospitals directorate was already almost £700,000 over its “travel and subsistence” budget.
The revelations come at a sensitive time for the watchdog because under the government’s plans the CQC will soon have to cover its costs through fees charged to those it regulates.
Can you see devolution from space?
On Tuesday, the Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill reaches the committee stage in the House of Commons. If the bill became law, it would give ministers wide ranging new powers to transfer NHS functions, funding and assets to councils.
David also posted some of his observations about this imortant bill on Twitter on Monday:
Devo is not primarily a public service policy, but an economic one, which assumes that locally run public services can help deliver growth.— David Williams (@dwilliamsHSJ) November 16, 2015
More on devo: Devo won't really be devo if the DH/NHS England are standing behind NHS deficits. The issue with this, is...— David Williams (@dwilliamsHSJ) November 16, 2015
...there's a profound cultural difference between local govt and NHS. Councils don't go in the red, even if they don't want to cut services.— David Williams (@dwilliamsHSJ) November 16, 2015
So if you're devolving service delivery and commissioning, do local leaders have the stomach for taking on their share of the NHS deficit?— David Williams (@dwilliamsHSJ) November 16, 2015
Devo is potentially as big a reorg as the Lansley reforms. no-one got anything done for 3 years cos of those. https://t.co/meFOPq1CqE— David Williams (@dwilliamsHSJ) November 16, 2015