Valerie Questions the Secretary of State for Health on Safe Staffing Levels

On Tuesday 16 July 2013, Valerie was called Question 4 in Health Questions.

The question is listed as:

“What plans he has to implement the recommendation of the Francis Report on safe staffing levels.”

The Secretary of State replied:

“We agree with Robert Francis that there is a need for evidence-based guidance and tools to inform appropriate staffing levels. We have set out a number of recommended actions to support appropriate staffing levels in ‘Compassion in Practice’—the nursing, midwifery and care staff vision and strategy for England.”

Valerie followed up:

“I thank the Secretary of State for his answer, but Robert Francis said in his report that minimum safe staffing levels lead to helping patient safety. If the Secretary of State agrees with Robert Francis, why does he not implement that recommendation now?”

The Secretary of State replied:

“I do agree with Robert Francis, but as he said in Nursing Times, there is an apparent misunderstanding by many people about what his recommendations actually were. This is what he said: ‘I did not recommend there should be a national minimum staffing standard for nursing. The government was criticised for not implementing one, which it is said I recommended, which I didn’t’.”