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Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) © Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE)

Nursing staff levels improve in Hamburg

97 per cent compliance with intensive nursing care requirements - expansion planned

An evaluation of data from 21 hospitals in Hamburg showed 97 per cent compliance with the German Nursing Staff Lower Limits Ordinance (PpUGV) in Q2 of 2019 over 90 per cent in Q1. Staff levels in intensive care and cardiology complied fully. Effective since January 1, 2019, the German Nursing Staff Lower Limits Ordinance (PpUGV) stipulates lower limits for nursing staff levels in geriatrics, intensive care medicine, cardiology and trauma surgery. The ordinance has had a positive impact on staffing in Hamburg’s hospitals. Only five clinics were temporarily unable to meet the requirements for lower personnel limits in Q2 of 2019.

Nursing staff requirements for entire hospital

The evaluation shows that the regulation on minimum requirements for nursing staff is a suitable instrument and can lead to improvements in hospitals that do not meet them. Cornelia Prüfer-Stacks, Senator for Health, said: “However, the goal must be for all of Hamburg’s hospitals in all care-sensitive sectors to meet the requirements fully or even exceed them.” The same applies to nursing staff specifications for the entire hospital, which will take effect in 2020.

Non-compliance to have consequences in future

Hospitals will have to prove that lower limits have been met based on the average monthly number of patients per nurse, broken down into day and night shifts. Guidelines on intensive care medicine, for instance, are adhered to, if the average monthly number of patients per nurse is no more than 2.5 and at night no more than 3.5 during the day. From 2020, non-compliance with the lower limits for nursing staff is expected to lead to reduced remuneration or case numbers. From 2021, hospitals’ quality reports must reflect any deviations.

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