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NICE to publish evidence on community safe staffing

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NICE will continue to work on safe staffing NICE will continue to work on safe staffing

NICE will publish evidence reviews into community nursing safe staffing levels, despite NHS England taking over this work.

The reviews, which are still being carried out by NICE staff, into safe staffing in the community and mental health settings will be available on the NICE website in due course. Evidence reviews for the staffing of A&E wards will be published by the end of July.

The evidence reviews will not constitute formal NICE guidance. This comes just after NHS England asked NICE to stop work on safe staffing. Instead NHS England will look at workforce development as a whole. A NICE spokesperson said: 'As previously announced, NHS England will now take forward the issue of staffing work as part of a wider programme of service improvement, and so NICE was asked to suspend the safe staffing programme and to not begin new activity.

'Two evidence reviews that were in progress will be completed, to help inform future work on safe staffing. Instead, the information contained within the final draft document will be published in an alternative format, as a record of the guidance developer's conclusions. This is in the interests of transparency, and to assist others looking for information on safe staffing.'

An NHS England spokesperson welcomed this but said 'it misses the fact that alongside nurses, A&E departments are also about other professions, and care pathways need integrating with ambulance, GP out of hours, 111 and community services too. However, with the exception of general acute ward staffing, there isn't yet reliable evidence to guide a formula driven approach.'

NHS England said it will work with other organisations to deliver safe staffing plans. Chief nursing officer Jane Cummings previously said the decision to remove safe staffing responsibilities from NICE was not driven by money but a need to look at workforce planning as a whole.

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