Solent NHS TrustHigh quality community and mental health services

November 2014 Safe Staffing Report

The comments below are explanations of why areas were red or amber in November’s safe staffing report and what was done to ensure patient care was safe.

The Limes (Appleby, Brooker and Kitwood)

The Limes is an inpatient facility with three wards designed to provide care for older adults requiring assessment and treatment for an acute phase of a mental illness or a mental illness which is causing severely challenging behaviour.

Safe staffing levels have been maintained throughout November although there has been some staff sickness. There has been low occupancy of the beds on Appleby and Brooker but each time a decision is taken to reduce staff numbers on duty a risk assessment is made by senior staff taking about the clinical needs of the patients on the ward.

Ward staff have worked flexibly across the whole unit to ensure that patient safety is the highest priority at all times. All staffing issues are discussed with the Modern Matron for this area. 

The RSH (Lower Brambles and Fanshawe)

These wards are intermediate care for patients following discharge from the local acute hospital or for patients who are admitted from home for rehabilitation.

Both of these wards have maintained safe levels of staffing during November. Due to an error in the electronic rostering system one newly appointed nurse was incorrectly recorded as a healthcare support worker for the whole of the month. The matron was aware of this error and had checked that the levels of staff on duty were safe. This has now been changed and will be correct for December.

The Orchards (Hawthorns and Maples)

Hawthorns is an Adult mental Health acute admission ward and Maples is a Psychiatric intensive care ward.

Both of these wards have a therapist working on the wards and the staffing is reviewed each shift to assess if the number of nurses, Healthcare support works and therapists are a safe number to meet the needs of the patients in the ward at that time.

Further work is being done on planning the numbers of staff needed and it is likely that there will be some changes to the numbers of ‘planned staff’ at times when there are no wards rounds or other meetings taking place.


Oakdene is an inpatient mental health rehabilitation ward for people who are experiencing severe and enduring mental health difficulties.

There is a high level of therapeutic input in this ward as well as the nursing support. For a large part of the month there has been reduced bed occupancy for this reason not all shifts were filled.


Snowdon is a Neurological rehabilitation ward.

Due to this being a rehabilitation ward, there are therapists based directly in the ward. These staff support and assist the nursing staff to deliver the total care our patients require.

The Matron also has daily input to this ward and reviews the acuity and dependency (how much care and treatment someone needs) to match it with the staff numbers.


Kite is a Neurological rehabilitation service for people with a cognitive impairment and/or an additional psychiatric need.

In November a number of the shifts which were planned for healthcare support workers were instead covered by a higher grade of staff, this is because it is safer and can be cheaper to use our own staff of a higher grade than to use agency staff.

The reason that these changes were required was due to sickness and some maternity leave. To manage this a number of the shifts were covered by our in-house bank team who were able to fill the majority of these requests.