Safe, sustainable and productive staffing in mental health services


Improvement resource to help standardise safe, sustainable and productive staffing decisions in mental health services.

Safe, sustainable and productive staffing: an improvement resource for mental health PDF, 905.1 KB

An improvement resource for mental health services (community and inpatient services across all specialties).

National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health: literature review PDF, 631.5 KB

A summary of the best available evidence on safe staffing structures of mental health teams to inform the development of specific sustainable safe staffing guidance for the National Safe Sustainable Staffing Guidance Programme Board.

We've developed this resource to help commissioners and providers of NHS-commissioned services create, review and sustain, safe and effective specialist mental health services. 

The document aims to make the link between the decisions on staffing that boards and clinical teams take and the needs of people who use mental health services. It is practical and pulls together existing guidance and approaches used to help make staffing decisions. We want to provide a resource that will make a sustainable difference to the quality of care that is delivered and experienced.

The resource outlines a systematic approach for identifying the organisational, managerial and environmental factors that support safe staffing. It makes recommendations for monitoring and taking action if not enough staff are available to meet people’s needs. It has been informed by previous work from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and a summary of literature reviews in the public domain, which specifically looked at the staffing structures in mental health services associated with improved service user outcomes (including safety, effectiveness and service user experience.)

When using this resource, you should also refer to the National Quality Board’s (NQB) 2016 Safe staffing resource Supporting NHS providers to deliver the right staff, with the right skills, in the right place at the right time

We have worked with clinicians and academics to develop this suite of safe staffing resources.

Related content


Sign in or register to subscribe to notifications

    • nhsi
    • 10 Mar '17

    resource was opened for discussion.

    • nhsi
    • 15 Mar '17

    This discussion has been closed.

    • nhsi
    • 15 Mar '17

    This discussion has been unclosed.

Is there anything wrong with this page?

Help us improve this website

Do not include any personal, sensitive or confidential information.