From April 2014, the National Quality Board (NQB) requires all trusts to report on staffing levels in clinical areas, specifically ward based areas at this stage. To ensure the best possible staffing across the organisation, there is senior oversight of all staffing numbers, and this is managed to ensure staffing levels for each ward is matched to occupancy and dependency of patients.
Practically this means that a number of wards may have a small staffing shortfall, rather than one ward facing a significant shortfall. Hence the number of shifts at planned staffing levels needs to be balanced with staff fill in total against planned numbers.
The evidence is collected on a shift by shift basis, and collated to present the monthly position. Skill mix may vary depending on occupancy of the ward and dependency of patients.
Further information about the National Quality Board is available following this link http://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/part-rel/nqb/