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Mental health inpatient

Hands holding a heart

About the work

The mental health inpatient group consists of senior representatives from each Health Board across Wales. The group meet at regular intervals and are working towards developing and testing an evidence-based workforce planning tool for use within mental health inpatient services across Wales.


Follow an evidence-based approach to create robust methods, tools and techniques to determine appropriate nurse staffing levels within mental health inpatient wards, using the common model of triangulation.

The tools devised by the group will enable Health Boards and Trusts to calculate the right number and skill mix of nursing staff required to provide effective care for patients on mental health inpatient wards.


On behalf of NHS Wales the purpose of the group is to:

  • devise an evidence based workforce planning tool for mental health inpatient settings for use within the Welsh context
  • support the use of a triangulated method to calculate nurse staffing levels, which consists of developing an acuity and dependency tool, identify quality indictors and determine how professional judgement can be used to determine staffing levels within mental health inpatient settings
  • devise, facilitate and monitor the implementation of the All Wales mental health inpatient interim nursing staffing principles
  • facilitate and oversee the implementation of the workforce planning tool for mental health inpatient settings within Health Boards and Trusts in Wales
  • support the All Wales Nurse Staffing programmes publication and communication strategy to ensure stakeholders are informed and engaged
  • deliver the actions set out in the work stream groups plan to timescales, highlighting risks and challenges to the work. This includes working to the timescales set by the Directors of Nursing and All Wales Nurse Staffing Group.
  • provide regular reports and position papers on the progress of the workstream against the workstream plan to the All Wales Nurse Staffing Group and the Nurse Directors/Chief Nursing Officer
  • make recommendations based on a review of existing evidence and ensure alignment with national and international standards.

Highlights of progress to date

  • Publication of newsletter
  • the workstream are considering quality indicators relevant to mental health inpatient services
  • nursing staff have participated in staff shift surveys
  • operational teams have conducted bi-annual audits using a professional judgement workshop to collate information about the nurses’ professional judgement on the deployment of nursing staff
  • devising draft interim nurse staffing principles to inform and guide workforce plans locally as an interim measure until the act is extended to mental health inpatient services
  • frontline staff have been supporting the development of the Welsh Levels of Care, which is the national patient acuity and dependency tool for mental health inpatient services.