Thu, Jul 21, 2016 - Page 4 News List

State health body releases nurse-to-patient ratio data

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

The National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA) yesterday released the nurse-to-patient ratio of all hospitals across the nation for the first time.

To improve the labor conditions of nursing staff in hospitals, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has advocated “reasonable” nurse-to-patient ratios and pay consistent with quality nursing care, the agency said.

At the agency’s office in Taipei, NHIA Director-General Lee Po-chang (李伯璋) unveiled the first-ever ranking of hospitals according to their nurse-to-patient ratios last year.

“Nurse-to-patient ratio is the [average] number of patients a nurse cares for and can be used to conceptualize the workload of nursing staff,” Lee said.

The standard for hospital accreditation is less than nine — or one nurse for every nine patients — for medical centers; less than 12 for regional hospitals; and less than 15 for local hospitals, while hospitals that keep the ratios lower than the standards are rewarded with an NHI payment of between 9 and 11 percent.

According to statistics from last year, the top three ranking medical centers, not including children’s hospitals, were National Cheng Kung University Hospital, Kaohsiung Medical University Chung-Ho Memorial Hospital and Taipei Chang Gung Memorial Hospital.

China Medical University Hospital had the worst ranking among medical centers last year, followed by National Taiwan University Hospital and Chi Mei Hospital in Tainan, the statistics showed, with the nurse-to-patient ratio at China Medical University Hospital being greater than nine for 10 months.

Lee said 8,045 nursing staff had been recruited at hospitals nationwide from 2010 to last year, with 3,623 going to medical centers, 4,636 to regional hospitals and 690 to local hospitals.

Although the additional staffing has helped reduce workloads, there is still room for improvement, he said.

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