Hospital bosses say patients are safe on their wards despite claims trusts nationwide are failing to hit their own staffing targets.
An analysis by the Health Service Journal of 232 hospitals in England found that 207, or 90%, were unable to meet safe levels during the day, while 81% could not hit targets for night cover and s ome 79% missed both quotas.
We ensure safe staffing levels are maintained at all times. Duty rotas are planned in advance and staffing needs are reassessed daily by the senior nursing teams for each area to ensure that changing needs are met.Ann Burrell
The findings, based on August figures published by hospitals each month under measures introduced following the Mid Staffs inquiry, come as the NHS faces increasing pressure.
But Ann Burrell, director of human resources at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust said staffing levels had not dropped below a safe level.
“We want to provide our patients with the very best care,” she said.
“To do this we need to have the right people, with the right skills in the right place at the right time.
“We ensure safe staffing levels are maintained at all times.
“Duty rotas are planned in advance and staffing needs are reassessed daily by the senior nursing teams for each area to ensure that changing needs are met.
“We have an on-going recruitment programme to fill any vacant nursing posts which become vacant when nurses are promoted, leave or retire.”
Earlier this month the health service missed a raft of key targets for A&E waiting times, cancer treatment and ambulance responses, leading experts to warn the NHS will struggle to cope with the busy winter period.
Separate research last week suggested nurses are under such pressure that they cannot guarantee safe care for their patients.