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Safe Staffing Healthy Workplaces

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The Safe Staffing and Healthy Workplaces (SSHW) Unit sits within Central Technical Advisory Services (CTAS), and was formed through a collaborative agreement between the New Zealand Nurses’ Organisation (NZNO) and the District Health Boards (DHBs). 

The SSHW Unit’s agenda had its formal beginnings as an outcome of the 2005 MECA negotiations between DHBs and NZNO. Agreement was reached between the parties to collaborate on establishing a mutually acceptable, credible alternative to the nurse:patient ratios proposed by NZNO. This agreement saw the establishment of the joint national Safe Staffing Healthy Workplaces Committee of Inquiry. The recommendations of this group were jointly endorsed by the parties and resulted in the establishment of the Safe Staffing Healthy Workplaces (SSHW) Unit. . The work has grown to become a whole of system approach involving a range of professional groups with the PSA now also involved.

The Unit’s goal is to have staffing and workplaces that assure patient safety and satisfaction, support staff health and well-being and support organisational efficiency. The Minister of Health initially funded the Unit in recognition of the Government’s commitment to advancing patient-centred improvements in service quality and these are expected to flow from the work of the SSHW Unit. The Unit is now collectively funded by all 20 DHBs.

The Care Capacity Demand Management (CCDM)  programme has been developed by the SSHW unit to address  key elements of the safe staffing healthy workplaces agenda by  balancing the requirement to deliver quality patient outcomes in quality work environments in ways that make efficient use of the health resources. 

Fundamental to the success of the CCDM programme is each DHB having access to a validated patient acuity tool.  The validated acuity data provides the basis for the calculation of nursing FTE, recommended skill mix, forecasting, planning and funding.