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Health secretary launches community 'named nurse' plan

Older patients should have a named nurse or doctor responsible for their care in the community, health secretary Jeremy Hunt announced last week.

The move is intended to ensure “accountability is clear” and forms part of a range of government proposals aimed at improving care for older people.

In a speech to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the founding of the NHS, Mr Hunt said: “The challenge of our time is to make radical improvements so that the NHS’ heaviest users – our most vulnerable and elderly – stay in good health and out of hospital.

“Too often these people have fallen through the cracks – ending up in hospital not by design, but simply because they can’t get the care they need elsewhere,” he said.  “That’s why we are asking the NHS to make one clinician responsible for their care in the community.”

It follows a speech made by Mr Hunt last month in which he said the name of the nurse or doctor responsible for a patient’s care in hospital should be written above their bed and which is already being piloted at several London acute trusts.

The Royal College of Nursing said it welcomed the idea of providing a named clinician for patients being cared for in the community.

RCN chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter said: “Community nurses are already essential co-ordinators for patients, and give advice and signposting to other services which may be required.”

But he added: “It is vital that the named clinicians in this role have the capacity and the organisational support to join up services so that patients experience a seamless journey from home to hospital and back again.”

Mike Hobday, director of policy and research at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “We welcome plans to make the care of older people with long-term conditions more co-ordinated by giving them a named clinician when they leave hospital.”

A consultation on the government’s proposals – called the Vulnerable Older People’s Plan – was also launched on Friday. It is part of the latest NHS Mandate, the document setting out the government’s goals and targets for the health service for 2014-15.

The Department of Health will consult on proposals for the Vulnerable Older People’s Plan over the summer, with a final version due to be published in the autumn.  

Mr Hunt also paid tribute to the NHS, saying it had “done more to improve people’s lives that any other institution in our history”. 

“We express our thanks to the millions of hard-working NHS staff who literally save lives round the clock. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude,” he said.


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Readers' comments (31)

  • Then you had better get your wallet open, Hunt.

    These named individuals who will be responsible for patients 'at all times' will require suitable remuneration for their 'on call/stand by' status and additional out of hours payments, travel expenses, etc; that is if you can find enough healthcare professionals who are prepared to sacrifice more of their already precious lives, which I doubt you will.

    Oh and by the way, the buck stops with you, you complete *rse!!!

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  • sorry to go off course but the mention of Hunt reminds me of the well known spoonerism and one I heard this morning on WRS.

    the reporter was interviewing somebody about budget airline fares and new restrictions on cabin luggage and instead asked about 'cabbage'!

    they must get a little nervous and distracted at times thinking about the questions they are going to ask!

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  • When are you going to stop deflecting from the real issues that are bringing down the NHS and the care provided. The majority of clinicians provide excellent care and the NHS deserves to have the individuals responsible for bringing it into disrepute and preventing excellent staff providing high quality care brought to book. These individuals are accountable for poor leadership, mis-management and have absolutely failed the NHS. Who are they? Managers many of whom were promoted into these positions of power because they were uncaring nurses. They are responsible for covering up their mistakes which has seen public monies wasted, patient deaths and neglect and staff suffering intimidation and bullying because they dare to challenge them. Please Mr Hunt and others in positions of power get real and support the brave individuals who have previously put themselves at risk on behalf of the NHS and the patient's it serves. Investigate each organisation and root out these individuals because we cannot rely on the organisations themselves to do it because they are too busy protecting those responsible in the interest of protecting the organisations reputation. Please put patients and the staff who care for them FIRST. Stop deflecting from the real issues which are damaging the NHS and show the public you really care about the NHS. Start by listening to Kim Holt at Patients First and her colleagues who have the answers and are prepared to work with you to save our NHS and ensure its future is one which truly puts patients' first and has values and morals based on truth, honesty and integrity.

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  • from Anonymous | 5-Jul-2013 1:04 pm

    there must be something about 'C' words which causes such slips of the tongue. I wonder what will be made of the sick 'Cs'?

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  • michael stone

    'The initiative aims to help people know who to turn to if they get confused by the myriad of care organisations'

    As Hunt et al have increased this 'myriad of organisations' by trying to get more private providers involved in NHS care, he is partly to blame for that confusion.

    But it does make sense if you are a patient who isn't very good at 'navigating the system and standing up for yourself' for there to be someone who is within the system, understands the system, understands your needs and can act to both explain what is going on to you (the patient) and to push your rights (against any obstruction within the system).

    Of course, GPs are claiming they are already over-worked and too short of 'time': nurses claim they are rushed off their feet (and also 'frequently ignored'); so how is this going to work in the real world ?

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  • He could do things properly and introduced the Managed Care Model while he is at it.

    "At an event celebrating the health service’s 65th birthday, Mr Hunt will say: “The NHS is the nation’s most loved and most successful institution."

    Who tells him what he will say? Is he being paid extra to say this?How do The Press Association know what he will say? Does he tell them everything he is going to say in advance? Maybe he tells them what he will think as well.

    Everything he has said here and elsewhere is just repeating the obvious and what has been said before. I guess he has learned the lingo from the press and the healthcare professions as he sounds like he is parroting it without any real understanding or meaning behind his words.

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  • Thanks Hunt. I am more than happy to nominate myself as my named nurse for a small fee!

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  • michael stone | 5-Jul-2013 2:47 pm

    "so how is this going to work in the real world ?"

    It isn't.

    Why should you have personal nurse/GP/healthcare professional held responsible for YOUR care outside of a hospital at all times? Is there an assumption that patients have become stupid and unable to be responsible for themselves? Some patients are stupid and indulge in self-damaging health behaviours. Why should that be my responsibility 24/7 and my fault when it all goes tits-up for the patient? How are you going to pay for all this, because it will cost a huge amount of money to have health professionals available 'at all times'?

    If patients want a scapegoat for 24/7 supervision, then they should hire one with their own money.

    Bottom line. The vast majority of people (not all) with long term conditions find themselves in their positions because of their own health damaging behaviours. Obesity, lack of exercise, smoking, alcohol excess, etc., cause most of the type II Diabetes, COPD and heart disease spoken about by that utter Hunt!! I don't mind participating in preventative and treatment regimes for these patients, but I'll be damned if I'll be blamed for their own stupidity.

    Once again, this bunch of criminals are seeking out nurses and doctors as the scapegoats for their failure to provide adequate resources to run a decent healthcare system.

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  • ...this sounds like a draw attention away from the other disastrous goings on in the NHS orchestrated by this government.

    No mention anywhere about the millions of pounds wasted on '111'?

    Within 6 hours of '111' taking over the Out of Hours Service in my area, the newly redundant telephone triage nurses were being called back into post due to the crisis/collapse of '111'. What an expensive disaster and so predictable.

    Let’s not have any more ‘half baked’ solutions to the problems of the NHS.

    Would someone from the shop floor let Mr Hunt know about the real world?
    I agree with mags | 5-Jul-2013 12:09pm Mr Hunt had better get his wallet open (again)….

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  • Nurses paid at the old G grade did have continuing responsibility. The Agenda for Change threw all that up in the air and we no longer have staff with that level of responsibility attached to their role or the time to undertake it in full.
    Why yet again are we looking to "Blame " nurses, of course they should be responsible for the care they give etc. But they must have the time to assess patients, control over admission to their caseload, properly trained permanent staff to delegate to and the time to supervise them.
    In my experience few GP's are ever in the line of fire, they are Teflon coated and are never responsible for the patient in the community unless they phone in with a ready made diagnosis which has been ignored. They work, in the main, part time. never give an opinion for their discipline at meetings, only their own.
    How come nurses on 1/3 of their pay will bear the responsibility now?
    I am puzzled by this latest bright idea.

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  • Anonymous | 5-Jul-2013 7:34 pm

    "Nurses paid at the old G grade did have continuing responsibility."

    Continuing responsibility meant that you took all reasonable measures to ensure that there were adequate appropriately skilled and trained staff to look after the patients in your area. It was not the same as being at the beck and call of everyone for every bout of sickness absence or staffing issue, when you were off duty. When I was a G grade, the world and his wife thought that it was perfectly okay to phone me at home in my own family time, when my long working week was done. We must NEVER return to that.

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  • I can see them now in their executive-grade office..."know...lets do this!!!...what a soooper idea! - the public will love it!"
    However - its a pea brained concept that, as already stated, is just designed to deflect away from the dire state our NHS has been driven to and will point the finger of blame at the individuals who continually strive to provide excellent care in these extremely difficult circumstances, rather than focus on those with the power to amend poor and ineffective systems and policies.
    P.S. Where exactly will all of these 'named nurses' appear from within the community? Is there a hidden treasure chest/pot of gold somewhere...or is he thinking of giving more responsibility to our HCSWs??!! Nothing would surprise me lately!!!

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  • "pea brained concept"

    only one more out of many which have been put forward so far mainly by Hunt on an almost daily basis to deflect from the main issues. it at least shows the NHS is getting some attention but little more at the moment! as none have any practical application they might make a good stuff for a comic strip!

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  • tinkerbell

    the ambulance chasing lawyers will benefit, another good old US of A way to do things, 'where there's blame there's a claim'. Everybody too frightened to do anything in case they do something wrong., Get better on your own on the NHS whilst waiting for someone to make a decision, the latest tory saving scam.

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  • 'pilot' in the London hospitals? really? sure it wasn't already being done.

    named doctors and nurses in the community - get real.

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  • tinkerbell

    i think someone ought to 'launch' him, preferably into outer space, where he can do the least harm.

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  • tinkerbell

    i'm starting to see JH in a new light as per his most recent photo shoot top left.

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  • michael stone

    tinkerbell | 7-Jul-2013 9:54 am

    Why do you want to launch the poor clown into outer space ? Are you one of those people who has a fear of clowns ? Anyway, we can't do it, because we scrapped our satellite launching programme decades ago (we just about got one into space, I think after the programme had officially been halted).

    I might have missed part of the plot, here (or the sun has got to me, possibly) - Tink's desire to get rid of clowns, is a new one to me. Unless - did the clown do something nasty to that photogenic cat Tink had posted pictures of ?

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  • tinkerbell

    michael stone | 7-Jul-2013 12:38 pm
    yes, I think I might be a bit clown phobic so am removing that avatar as I am finding it darkly sinister and a bit scary.

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  • tinkerbell

    that's better, everytime I saw the clown it made me jump and go argh!

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