Safer staffing toolkit gets NICE approval 

06/10/2014 00:00 
A toolkit designed by the Chief Nurses of UCLH and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals to help hospitals set appropriate nurse staffing levels has been endorsed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
Nurse at work 

The Safer Nursing Care Tool was originally developed ten years ago by Professor Katherine Fenton, UCLH’s Chief Nurse, and Professor Hilary Chapman, Chief Nurse at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
The SNCT focusses on setting establishments, helping hospitals determine safe and appropriate nurse staffing levels on their wards, based on patients’ sickness and dependency. It is the only toolkit of its kind available to health providers for free.
It is updated regularly to reflect the changing needs of patients, and further developments are currently in progress to support NICE’s advice on how to determine nursing requirements on a shift-by-shift basis at ward level.
The tool was tested, endorsed and adopted in 2013 by the Shelford Group, a best practice sharing collaboration between ten of the leading NHS medical research hospitals, and has now received the seal of approval from NICE, the body which provides national guidance and advice to improve health and social care.
Katherine Fenton said: “We know that the right level of staffing, skills and experience is key to providing excellent care for patients, whose needs have changed significantly in recent years. The Safer Nursing Care Tool reflects that change and gives nurses and patients the confidence that staffing is geared not just to numbers but also dependency.”
Hilary Chapman, Chief Nurse at Sheffield Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust added: ““We warmly welcome NICE’s endorsement of the Safer Nursing Care Tool. National recognition of the importance of safe and robust staffing is a great step forward, and we are pleased to be able to share this tool in conjunction with NICE’s guidelines. The Safer Nursing Care Tool provides the evidence-based information to guide and support nurses when determining staffing levels, helping them to provide the best care that they can.”

1. The SNCT can be accessed here: 
2. The NICE endorsement statement can be found here:

3. The SNCT was developed using evidence from 1,000 best practice wards, covering 119,000 interventions delivered to almost 2,800 patients over two years. It recommends appropriate staffing levels based on patients’ sickness and dependency, and contains a number of Nurse Sensitive Indicators, similar to NICE’s “red flags”, for monitoring by hospitals. Indicators include infection rates, complaints, pressure ulcers and falls, which give a wider picture of quality and safe care on wards.




 Latest news

 Contact details

Communications unit
2nd floor central
250 Euston Road
London NW1 2PG

Media enquiries

Switchboard: 020 3456 7890
Media enquiries: 020 3447 7542 / 020 3447 9506

Out of hours
The normal working hours for the Communications Unit are Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm. The only media enquiries that will be answered outside of these working hours are urgent enquiries and those relating to major incidents. To access the out-of-hours service call switchboard on 0845 155 5000.

Share this story