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NHSE orders further dilution of staffing ratios to help double ICU capacity


NHS England has told hospitals in the Midlands to further dilute their staffing ratios so critical care capacity can be doubled, HSJ has learned.

In a letter sent on 9 January to the boards of all trusts in the region, national leaders said they needed to “dilute nursing ratios beyond the current ask of 1:2” to achieve the significant increase in capacity.

In November, all trusts in England were told they could dilute staffing ratios in critical care from the standard one nurse to one patient ratio, to one nurse to two patients. Informal reports from around the country suggest some trusts have already had to move beyond these ratios.

The letter said trusts had already been asked to surge capacity to 150% cent of the normal baseline on 6 January, and were expected to be at 175% today. But it said some units were still not achieving this and the region was “transferring patients to other regions.”

It added: “In addition to this, you need to have well developed plans in place that can be rapidly activated to surge to 200% of baseline, which may need to be enacted in the coming days.

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Source: HSJ, 11 January 2021

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