WORKFORCE: East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust’s board is being asked to support extra investment in nurses after a staffing review revealed issues in some areas.

The board of East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust will consider the report later this week. It highlights that, although staffing levels are generally satisfactory when the hospitals are efficiently and bed capacity is matched to supply, some areas come under pressure.

This can be because bed occupancy is high, additional beds have been added or there is higher than expected demands for specialist care.  Having staff on maternity leave or not being able to fill shifts through NHS Professionals can add to this.

Some clinical areas require investment in extra staff because what they are doing has changed – for example, paediatrics. And the report says in a number of wards the skill mix and rostering needs to change to ensure better availability of band six nurses at weekends and overnight.

The report also recommends increasing the amount of time allocated for ward managers for surpervisory duties. The trust currently allows two days a week for this but the Francis report suggested this supervisory role should be full time.

The report – written by the chief nurse and her acting deputy - suggests a number of changes which could help the trust make the most of what it already spends on nurses.

But it concludes that extra money is needed in medical wards, stroke units, healthcare of older people, paediatrics and neonatal intensive care. And it says that the trust should gradually move towards a 60-40 skill mix on all adult wards, in line with RCN recommendations.