Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Patient load and medical staffing in adult dialysis units in the United Kingdom.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986; 293 doi: (Published 13 December 1986) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986;293:1545
  1. W K Stewart,
  2. L W Fleming


    A survey of medical staffing in 50 adult dialysis units in the United Kingdom in 1986 showed a wide range of patient to staff ratios or staffing score ratios. The total patient load (patients receiving haemodialysis in hospital and at home and those receiving continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis) varied from 12 to 270 per unit. Patients receiving acute haemodialysis or who had received a transplant were not included. The unit staffing score, on a weighted scale based on experience, varied from 6.0 to 40.5. Previous surveys have all been regionally or nationally based so criteria for assessing the adequacy of staffing in single units do not exist. This survey attempts to provide a guideline by describing the range of medical staffing compared with patient load in single dialysis units. No unit considered itself to be overstaffed, and several considered themselves to be greatly understaffed. Individual dialysis units should plead their own case in the light of their own circumstances and up to date information provided in nationwide staffing surveys such as this one.