THE quality of care provided by nurses must be taken into account, as well as staff numbers.
That’s the message from patient support group Portsmouth Healthwatch.
It comes after Jeremy Hunt, secretary of state for health announced that hospitals will publish online, how many nurses they have working on wards.
Steve Taylor, manager of Portsmouth Healthwatch, said: ‘Generally we are supportive of this idea because it’s showing much more transparency.
‘But it’s not just about the number of staff, and that has to be looked at.
‘Putting statistics on a website doesn’t tell the whole story.
‘We need to make sure we look at the overall picture, about what help is needed and what care has been given.’
From April, patients will be able to see the numbers on a new national website.
There will be no national minimum staffing standard, but it is likely to include recommended nurse-to-patient ratios for different types of ward.
It comes from recommendations made from the Francis inquiry.
Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust (PHT), which runs Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, has welcomed the move.
Julie Dawes, director of nursing at PHT, said: ‘The trust fully supports the decision to publish staffing levels and wholly agrees that the NHS should be transparent with the public.
‘This information will allow us to view the government recommendations with regards to the nurse to patient ratios for different types of wards.
‘We already publish staffing levels and have done for some time on our wards.
‘The trust will also publish this data to our website once the recommendations have been set by the government.’
Councillor Peter Eddis, chairman of Portsmouth City Council’s health, overview and scrutiny panel, said people should not get bogged down with numbers.
He said: ‘We want the nurses to get on with their jobs, and not get bogged down with statistics.’