This site is intended for health professionals only

Minimum nursing levels set out

Minimum staffing levels of registered nurses caring for babies, children and young people have been set out by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN).

According to the organisation, these standards are the “minimum essential requirements” to deliver safe care.

There should be a minimum ratio of 70:30 registered to unregistered staff, and this should apply to all services, including community and independent sector providers, the RCN said.

At least 70% of nurses should have specific training, for example children's intensive care or neonatal care.

In addition, where services are provided to children there should be access to a senior children's nurse for advice at all times, the RCN claim.

“It is vital that individual children's nurses, managers and healthcare providers take responsibility to help ensure safe staffing levels and high quality patient care,” said Dr Peter Carter, RCN chief executive.

“Children's services are increasingly complex and our members have consistently raised the importance of identifying the safe minimum staffing levels and skill mix across all settings, particularly at a time when many health and public services are facing financial challenges.”