The Mental Health Optimal Staffing Tool (MHOST) was created, with the support of Health Education England, in recognition that there was no published, evidenced based mental health workforce tool which could be used in mental health hospitals. It has been developed alongside clinical leaders and workforce staff in mental health trusts and rigorously tested and validated.
The MHOST can be used in any mental health hospital within England, covering the following specialisms:
- Working age adult admission wards
- Old age functional and dementia wards
- Forensic (high and medium secure wards)
- CAHMS tier 4 wards
- Eating disorder wards
- Perinatal wards
- Psychiatric intensive care units
- Low secure and rehabilitation wards.
The MHOST is part of a suite of Safer Nursing Care Tools (SNCT), delivered by the Shelford Group chief nurses in partnership with Imperial College London, which include those for adult in-patient wards, acute medical units and children and young people’s wards. The SNCT is endorsed by NICE and supported by NHS Improvement and NHS England. The SNCT are widely used across NHS organisations in England, as well as in private health providers and in many overseas healthcare organisations.
Kenny Laing, deputy chief nurse at Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and national lead nurse of the MHOST, said:
“The Mental Health Optimal Staffing Tool is an innovative, yet simple to use, way of helping to ensure that mental health hospitals can make evidence based decisions on safe staffing levels that support patients’ needs. This new tool will not only help to improve the care and outcomes for some of the most vulnerable patients, it will also help to improve the working environment of staff in the mental health sector. I would urge all mental health hospitals to use the MHOST to guide them in their safe staffing decisions.”