Evidence to recommendations

When drafting these recommendations, the Safe Staffing Advisory Committee considered evidence from the systematic reviews, an economic analysis report and the additional reports described in the section on evidence. In some areas there was limited or no published evidence. In these cases, the Committee considered whether it was possible to formulate a recommendation on the basis of their experience and expertise. The evidence to recommendations tables detail the Committee's considerations when drafting the recommendations.

The Committee also identified a series of gaps in the evidence and formulated research recommendations.

The Committee considered the following factors when drafting the recommendations:

  • whether there is a legal duty to apply the recommendation (for example, to be in line with health and safety legislation)

  • the strength and quality of the evidence base (for example, the risk of bias in the studies looked at, or the similarity of the patient populations covered)

  • the relative benefits and harms of taking (or not taking) the action

  • any equality considerations.

Strength of recommendations

In general, recommendations that an action 'must' or 'must not' be taken are usually included only if there is a legal duty (for example, to comply with health and safety regulations).

Recommendations for actions that should (or should not) be taken use directive language such as 'agree', 'assess', 'calculate', 'ensure procedures are in place', 'record' or 'take'.

Recommendations for which the quality of the evidence is poorer, or where there is a closer balance between benefits and harms (factors that could be used or actions that could be taken), use 'consider'.