Health trust chiefs in Doncaster and Bassetlaw have promised to increase nurse staffing levels and publish ward-by-ward details of staff numbers.
Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has made a public commitment to ensuring at least 65 per cent of nursing staff on its wards and clinical departments are qualified nurses or midwives.
The trust - which runs Doncaster Royal Infirmary, Bassetlaw Hospital in Worksop and Montagu Hospital in Mexborough – approved the increase at its December Board meeting.
It compares with current staffing levels that were based on a ratio of 60 per cent qualified nurses and midwives to 40 per cent healthcare assistants and care support workers, although some areas have improved on that already.
A spokesman for the trust said the decision had been based on in-depth analysis of the mix of patients admitted to the three hospitals in the last six months, including the seriousness of their medical or surgical condition and other factors that may affect the level of specialist care they receive.
Chief Executive of Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals, Mike Pinkerton, said: “We were probably one of the first trusts in the country to make this kind of public commitment to investing in additional nursing posts and have been doing a lot of work over the last six months to look at our staffing levels and skill-mix.
“It stemmed in part from feedback at staff roadshows that they are now seeing older, frailer and more seriously ill patients with more complex health needs than they were just a few years ago. It made sense to look in detail at our staffing levels and the ratio of qualified nurses and midwives to unqualified care support workers and healthcare assistants.
He added: “We’re determined to increase this ratio so that in future at least 65 per cent of ward staff are qualified nurses or midwives and we want to reach that goal as soon as we can. We’re also keen to be open and transparent about nursing levels on all our wards and hope to be in a position to publish this before the Department of Health target date of April 2014.”