A new chief inspector of hospitals would be empowered to take action if hospitals are found to be compromising patient care with insufficient staffing, the Government has said.
Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said hospitals were responsible for their own levels of staff numbers.
It is for hospitals themselves to decide how many nurses they employ, and they are best placed to do this.
Nursing leaders have been clear that hospitals should publish staffing details and the evidence to show that staff numbers are right for the care needs of the patients that they look after.
Overall, the number of clinical staff in the NHS has risen and the number of admin staff has fallen by 18,000.
More top news
David Ibbotson is still missing after the Piper Malibu plane crashed in the English Channel.
Cash machines are being lost all over the country, impacting on people who rely on them.
Wet and windy overnight in the north, mostly dry elsewhere.