Our guide to the nursing and midwifery staffing report

The report details our planned staffing hours for each ward and compares those figures to the hours actually worked in order to calculate fill percentages. 

We plan our staffing based on six-monthly reviews of the types and numbers of patients we can expect to see. However, there will be occasions when planned staffing arrangements change to reflect the dependency of patients or increased pressures on some departments. As a result, some staff will move to other wards to provide support and expertise and fill percentages will fluctuate.

What causes the fill percentages to fluctuate?

Maternity staffing

Our midwives work in the hospital and the community, responding to women wherever they choose to give birth. To support this we have a core group of hospital based staff but, depending on the number of women requiring care, the number of midwives working during a 24 hour period changes in response. 

Our midwifery staffing is planned in line with the national recommendation for safe staffing, which is one midwife to every 28 births. The service is currently funded to provide this level of staff and we use them effectively to follow women throughout their pregnancy to birth and the postnatal period. 

We prioritise women who are giving birth and those who have additional clinical needs within the hospital.

Critical care staffing

Staffing on intensive care and high dependency units is always adjusted depending on the number of patients being cared for and the level of support they require. Therefore the numbers will fluctuate considerably across the month when compared against our planned numbers.


Specialling occurs when patients in an area require more focused care than we would normally expect. In these cases extra, unplanned staff are assigned to support the ward. If specialling is required the ward may show as being over filled.

Unplanned changes in bed availability

If a ward has an unplanned increase or decrease in bed availability the ward may show as being over or under filled, even though it remains safely and appropriately staffed.  

Which staff groups are included in the report?

The report details the staffing levels for registered nurses and midwives, and unregistered staff. Included in the unregistered staff figures are a number of support workers who have been trained to a higher level. Under the supervision of a registered nurse, these staff can carry out the majority of tasks performed by registered staff. We are very proud of the programmes we have in place for training our care support workers. 

Excluded from the report are the additional staff who support care on our wards and help to ensure our nurses and midwives can focus on our patients. These include specialist staff such as physiotherapists and pharmacists, ward clerks and secretaries, housekeepers and visiting staff such as specialist nurses.