The national nursing strategy and the seminal report on Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust have both begun to have a direct impact on how nursing is managed at a local level, our survey suggests.
Of the 47 nursing directors who responded to Nursing Times’ survey, 57% had made changes as a result of both documents.
In addition, 28% had made changes as a result of the Francis report alone and 9% only as a result of Compassion in Practice – the strategy that launched the “6Cs” last year.
Around 30 respondents gave further details about what they had done in response, with 21 saying they had reviewed and increased staffing levels. Other changes introduction included values-based recruitment, making ward sisters supervisory in status and encouraging staff to be more open and learn from mistakes.
The workforce reviews appear to be further evidence of trusts becoming concerned about patient safety in the wake of the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust Public Inquiry report – the so-called “Francis effect” identified by a Nursing Times investigation last month. It found 71% of trusts had increased their nursing establishment in the past year.
Despite these changes, less than half, 44%, thought the report would help nurses to prevent similar situations to Mid Staffordshire.
The survey also found the majority of nursing directors, 60%, thought the Francis report was a fair and balanced analysis of the issues facing nursing today.
There was less support for the government’s initial response with 38% feeling it was unhelpful and unbalanced. Just 15% agreed the proposals in the response would lead to improvements.
However, many respondents complained that both the report and the government’s initial response to it had been overly focused on nursing, compared with doctors and managers.
One director said: “Nurses have rightly looked at their requirement for change in the [Francis report], but were left with the uncomfortable view that the government felt they alone were responsible for the events that unfolded.”
The government’s full response to the Francis report is expected later this month.
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