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Skill Mix in Acute Care in the NHS: A Recipe for a Better Blend of Health Care or a Cost Cutting Exercise

International Journal of Applied HRM (ISSN: 1742-2604) Volume 2 Issue 1

Ms. Ann Pearson

Abstract

This paper discusses the reasons why skill mix is important in health care systems. It highlights the evidence on skill mix that is available to inform health system managers, health professionals, health policy-makers and other stakeholders. The study shows that the results from even the most rigorous of studies cannot necessarily be applied to every acute hospital setting. This finding suggests that no formula can be produced which can be applied to different acute hospitals. This supports the basis that skill mix should be examined by identifying the care needs of a specific patient population and using these to determine the required skills of staff.

With these limitations in mind, the paper examines two main areas in which investigating current evidence can make a significant contribution to a better understanding of skill mix. For the mix of nursing staff, the evidence suggests that increased use of less qualified staff will not be effective in all situations, although in some cases increased use of care assistants has led to greater organizational effectiveness.

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