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Minimum safe staffing levels may be set for emergency departments and elderly care wards

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 03 January 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:d8353
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. 1London

The public inquiry into the high number of deaths at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust is expected to recommend that minimum staffing ratios be set for total numbers and the skills mix of doctors and nurses in accident and emergency and elderly care wards in England to ensure the safety of care.

In a written statement submitted to the inquiry’s chairman before Christmas, the counsel to the inquiry, Tom Kark QC, said “that consideration should be given to the production of model staffing guidelines for certain types of wards and departments against which the Care Quality Commission should assess the acceptability of staffing.”

Mr Kark pointed out that the real danger in accident and emergency services at Mid Staffordshire was understaffing, inadequate training, and poor governance. And he questioned why external scrutiny of …

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