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To enquire about using the SNCT, please email: manish.patel@imperial.ac.uk


The Safer Nursing Care Tool (SNCT) for Acute Assessment Units (AAU) is an adaptation of the original Safer Nursing Care Tool for adult inpatient wards developed in 2006 and updated in 2013. It has been developed to help NHS hospitals make evidence-based decisions on staffing in adult Acute assessment units in acute hospitals in line with the NQB’s expectations using  patient acuity and dependency to inform these decisions.                   

  • Decision support tool, developed by the Shelford Group and endorsed by NICE

  • Evidence-based: tested in Teaching and District General Hospitals in England and across NHS Scotland, to confirm tool is robust and easy to use

  • Aligned to a staffing multiplier (whole time equivalent (WTE) nurse staffing) to provide a recommended establishment based on the actual needs of the patients



¨ Appropriate for use in any adult Acute assessment units in acute hospitals within England (although further work is underway to adapt the tool for use in other clinical setting and other countries)

¨ Used in conjunction with Nurse Sensitive Indicators (NSIs); patient and staff outcomes  that can be linked to nurse staffing such as patient falls and pressure ulcer incidence

¨ Able to support benchmarking activity in organisations when used across Trusts. This will guide consistent decision making in setting safe and sustainable nurse establishments in line with agreed standards across similar care settings in England.


For more information, please download the product spec sheet on the Files tab above


Other specialist SNCTs are available for:

Adult inpatient wards

Children and Young People's inpatient wards


Mental Health Optimal Staffing Tool


Safer Nursing Care Tool (SNCT): Acute Assessment Unit

Evidence-based tool which enables assessment of acuity and dependency of patients for establishment setting

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