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Emergency Department-ED SNCT

Helps measure patient acuity and dependency to inform evidence-based decision making on staffing and workforce

The National Quality Board (NQB) publication ‘Supporting NHS providers to deliver the right staff, with the right skills, in the right place at the right time: Safe, sustainable and productive staffing’ (2016) outlines the expectations and framework within which decisions on safe and sustainable staffing should be made to support the delivery of safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led care on a sustainable basis. This is further support by NHS Improvements’ publication ‘Developing workforce safeguards - Supporting providers to deliver high quality care through safe and effective staffing’ in 2018.

The Emergency Department Safer Nursing Care Tool (ED SNCT) has been developed to help NHS hospitals in England measure patient acuity and/or dependency to inform evidence-based decision making on staffing in the Emergency Department, including paediatrics.  The tool will also offer nurses a reliable method against which to deliver evidence-based workforce plans to support existing services or the development of new services. It has been adapted to consider the implications of COVID-19 on staffing.


Benefits of the Emergency Department SNCT (ED SNCT)


  • · Demonstrates how acuity and dependency are measured in emergency department settings.

  • · Ensures that accurate data can be collected.

  • · Uses staffing multipliers to support professional judgement in reviewing and setting nursing establishments.​

The development process

The  ED SNCT  was developed and validated by NHS emergency department experts. This included large acute trusts, including those with major trauma centres, and district general hospitals caring for adults only or adults and children. It is therefore suitable for determining nurse staffing establishments for all emergency departments (ED).

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