Safe staffing in the NHS: resources

How is NHS workforce planned to answer need and why is safe staffing still a problem?

Inadequate staffing is having a detrimental impact on the health and wellbeing of patients and nurses. Without safe staffing levels in place, nursing staff are struggling to provide patients with safe and effective care, and they feel professionally compromised. The challenges around the workforce have never been greater.

Our last policy roundtable of the year, due to take place this Wednesday, will attempt to provide solutions for this issue, presenting the most current research and insights on this topic for discussion and debate. And because we would like to keep the conversation going, please find below a list of further resources about this topic:


Safe nurse staffing for the NHS: what does the evidence say?, by Professor Peter Griffiths, December 2018



Hancock to 'look' at safe staffing legislation, Health Service Journal November 2018

Hancock will ‘consider’ safe staffing legislation in England, Nursing Notes November 2018

NHS staff shortages could triple in a decade, think tanks warn, The Telegraph November 2018

NHS 'could be short of 350,000 staff by 2030', The Guardian November 2018

Nurse Staffing Levels (Wales) Act comes in to full force, NHS Wales, April 2018




Nurse staffing, nursing assistants and hospital mortality: retrospective longitudinal cohort study, BMJ Quality and Safety, December 2018

Post-operative mortality, missed care and nurse staffing in nine countries: A cross-sectional study, by Peter Griffiths et. al, International Journal of Nursing Studies, August 2017

Nursing skill mix in European hospitals: cross-sectional study of the association with mortality, patient ratings, and quality of care, by Peter Griffiths et al, BMJ Quality and Safety, 2016

Nurse staffing and patient outcomes: Strengths and limitations of the evidence to inform policy and practice. A review and discussion paper based on evidence reviewed for the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence Safe Staffing guideline development, by Peter Griffiths, International Journal of Nursing Studies, 2016

Safe and Effective Staffing: Nursing Against the Odds, Royal College of Nursing September 2017

How we achieved safe staffing legislation in Wales, Royal College of Nursing 2018

Safe staffing guidelines, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), 2015

Safe staffing, NHS Improvement resources

NHS staff face intolerable pressure, NHS Providers, September 2017




The Healthcare workforce in England. Make or Break, by The Health Foundation, The Nuffield Trust and King's Fund, November 2018

The 2013 Francis report, following the public inquiry in to the failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust with recommendations on staffing levels and safety measures

The 2016 Carter review “Unwarranted variation: A review of operational productivity and performance in English NHS acute hospitals” details the conclusions of Lord Carter’s review into productivity within hospitals across England, with specific workforce issues among its 15 overall recommendations

The 2015 Willis review, “Raising the Bar: Shape of Caring”

Safe and Effective Staffing: the real picture, Royal College of Nursing UK Policy Report

NICE releases safe staffing evidence reviews, NICE, 2016

Health and social care: safe and effective staffing consultation, Scotish Government, 2017

BMA consultation response: A draft health care workforce strategy, British Medical Association, December 2017

Nurse staffing levels linked to reports of missed care in adult wards, NIHR Dissemination Centre