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Respect, dignity and compassion to be 'mandatory' for NHS training posts

New recruits to NHS education courses will be expected to pass a “values-based” test from next year in a bid to embed respect, dignity and compassion in future workforces − in line with government policy following the Francis report into care failings at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust.

The test will be devised by Health Education England at the request of ministers who have issued the education agency with a “mandate” to introduce the measure.

It stated that HEE must “ensure that selection into all new NHS funded training posts incorporates testing of value-based recruitment by March 2015”.

According to the mandate, the test should ensure the “importance of values as well as skills, and the need to treat patients with respect and dignity” in training programmes funded by HEE’s £5bn budget.

“This mandate will make sure that NHS employers only recruit health and care workers with the right skills and the necessary caring values”

Dan Poulter

This need to instil a system of values as well as skills into the NHS was one of the central lessons of the Francis report, according to the Department of Health.

HEE will also be expected to develop a values-based recruitment framework for organisations and universities offering NHS funded courses by October 2014, according to the mandate. It must also develop “a toolkit” to support organisations to review current practices and align recruitment processes with the values laid out in the NHS constitution.

The HEE will work with regulators and professional bodies to develop a common set of standards and qualifications for staff working across community and hospital based settings. This should enable staff to transfer between organisations and care settings more freely, a DH spokeswoman said.

Two specialist postgraduate qualification programmes for nurses will also be developed. One for nurses to specialise in mental health; the other for older person’s care.

Nurses on the older person’s postgraduate qualification programme will also have access to an older person’s nurse fellowship programme.

HEE will also work with NHS England and Public Health England to develop a career framework for nurses working with older people. It will work with the Royal College of GPs to improve GP training on mental health, child health, older persons’ health and dementia.

Health minister Dan Poulter said: “Patients have the right to feel confident that they will be treated with dignity and respect.

Dan Poulter

Dan Poulter

“Compassionate care must be at the very heart of our NHS. This mandate will make sure that NHS employers only recruit health and care workers with the right skills and the necessary caring values to give patients, carers and their families the treatment they deserve.”

The mandate would “make sure that all hard working NHS staff are given the flexible and expert skills to deliver high quality, patient centred care, particularly for the elderly and vulnerable,” Dr Poulter added.

It includes a target to train 250,000 NHS staff in dementia care by March 2015 with all staff trained on the condition by 2018.

To deliver personalised maternity care, HEE will also be required to maintain the current number of midwifery students up to 2016, at approximately 2,500 a year.

As previously reported by Nursing Times, HEE will also review undergraduate and postgraduate training pathways by summer 2015 to identify ways to support the development of a more flexible workforce.

Readers' comments (20)

  • Maybe if they were to put half of the £5billion into increasing staff on the ground, then there would be more time to be compassionate. I fail to see how the government cannot see this.

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  • How sad that in the year 2014, people entering the nursing profession need to be screened for the quality of compassion. No amount of additional staff can ensure that. Extra staff won't help with the dignity thing either.
    You've either got it or you aint.

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  • This is shifting the blame to the shop floor.

    If you havn't got the staff you cant do your job properly.

    Lets start at the top with these tests and work down...Dept Health, NHS England Monitor and of course every CEO.

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  • michael stone

    The Care Quality Commission intends to use a 'human rights' approach as part of its inspection regime - terms such as 'respect' and 'dignity' feature in its consultation literature.

    But whatever you write about these things, many actual decisions involve balancing one consideration against another: I'm not sure that it is easily possible to write down a list of things people are to be 'audited against' and to invariably by that methodology, pass 'The Humphrys' Test' (the Humphrys' test is the question he frequently asks on BBC Radio 4, when interviewing some senior organisational or regulatory figure, of "But why didn't they know that was obviously unacceptable behaviour - why on earth, do they need to be trained to understand that !").

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  • How about seeing if more staff on the wards would help first before you blame nurses for their lack of compassion because you're trying to squeeze too much out of them in the first place? ! You need the staff to do a job properly. And yes if there's still a lack of compassion by all means test new recruits and even existing staff

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  • I'm not sure how values would be tested at the recruitment stage and the evidence on clinical assessments already shows that mentors have difficulty assessing values let alone referring students whose performance falls short of professional expectations. What is important for learning, is that nurses observe compassion and feel cared for themselves by exemplary role models who participate in hands-on care, rather than giving the impression that "basic" care is unskilled and less important than technical or medical tasks.

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  • NMC the Code, anyone?

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  • Cameron, Hunt, Cummings and all CEOs and all other Chiefs

    in order to deliver your six 'Cs' nurses need a pledge of

    your Commitment to the Coalface
    due Consideration
    Compassion
    Concentration and focus
    Coaptation
    Collaboration
    Compliance
    Cooperation
    Communication
    Cohesion
    Coalescence
    Collegiality
    Coexistence
    Copious supplies of Coffee and Coke at our meetings with you
    Congency
    Cogitation
    Cognition
    Cognizance
    Coherence
    Collective bargaining
    Collocation
    Comfort and support when things go wrong
    Comedy to help us relax
    Conscientiousness
    Committal
    Commendation for good performance
    Comment - feedback
    Committees where we are free to discuss our Concerns with you
    Companionship to show we are all in it together for the good of our patients and our Community
    Comparison and healthy Competition to show how we are performing
    moral Compass
    Compatability
    Compendiousness
    Compensation for missed breaks and overtime
    Competence
    Complaints dealt with quickly and efficiently
    and Completely
    understanding Complexity
    paying Compliments where they are deserved
    Complying with the rules
    Comportment
    Composure
    Compos mentis
    Comprehension at what we tell you
    Compromise
    Compulsion
    Compulsory break
    Computer literacy
    Conceptualization
    Concern for others and for the job
    Conciliation
    Conciseness
    Concordance
    Concurrence
    Condemnation and Condonation of poor and negligent care and malpractice
    Conducive to high quality care
    Condolence as appropriate
    professional Conduct
    Conferment















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  • Continued .../

    Conferences
    Confess when you do something wrong
    Confidence
    Confidentiality
    Confine sensitive information
    Confirmation of information promptly as required and requested
    Conflict management and resolution
    Conformity to rules and regulations
    Confront when the need arises
    Congratulate where work is well done and results are achieved
    Congruence
    Connect with others
    always seek Consensus and Consent
    Consequential
    Conservationist
    Conservative
    Considerate
    Consistent
    Consilience


    unfortunately the first list posted before it was finished and has not been proof read and corrected, but never mind.

    Condolences for burdening you with more than the six 'C's but in fact the list is endless but hopefully dear Chiefs this will give you a few tips to be going on with and to work on just for now.

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  • Time management walked the talk and treated the nurses with respect, dignity and compassion, isn't it?

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  • I see Dr Poulter's coin for praising/berating nurses came up tails this week then.

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  • As mentioned in above posts; lack of staff, resources, recognition and remuneration has lead to dignity, respect and compassion being eroded in order to meet tick box targets.
    Values must apply to everyone, at all levels and must be rolemodelled from senior posts, as these people seem to move freely from one organization into another, to implement changes.
    Front line staff are reporting concerns, if they feel safe to, but still nothing appears to change much nationally.

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  • I once asked my Matron to stop judging my performance on completion of tick boxes and come and work with me for the day to assess my care and compassion! Her reply was 'I know what your saying but there is no measure that can be put in place to audit that'!! So how are we going to set a test for respect, dignity and compassion prior to training?? Many people can answer questions correctly and 'talk the talk' but that doesn't prove they can apply it!!

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  • Thank goodness I am no longer part of this crazy organisation.

    Those of you who can emigrate and escape the lunacy !

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  • Anonymous | 3-May-2014 10:55 am

    Did! Many moons ago, and thank goodness. every day I thank my lucky stars and worked somewhere where compassion and respect and all the other 'six c's' were taken for granted and required no special mention.

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  • Compassion is not just needed by nursing staff it should be key to the whole NHS ethos Senior managers clinicians and consultants.

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  • This so called lack of compassion has been dreamed up by the tory press, ie Telegraph, mail, express, sun and their stupidity in failing to notice that most of their complaints stem from not having enough staff to do the job. Do they not realise that there are many other jobs with higher rewards our bright young people can enter into rather than the punishment of being blamed for the ills of the NHS??

    When nurses are working to the point of exhaustion without adequate breaks even for a cup of tea, terrified of vexatious complaints due to only having one pair of hands and the cognition of only one brain, how are they expected to be able to smile inanely like Pollyanna? Is this how compassion is measured?

    How is Poulter going to 'measure' this innate quality? A questionnaire with tick boxes??

    Puts me in mind of Gulliver's travels. When Gulliver visited Laputa he was astonished to find the "wise" men there so wrapped up in their own importance by trying to extract sunshine from cucumbers, that they were completely stupid in practical problems.

    Step forward Poulter, Cummings, Hunt, and all your editorial friends ............

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  • michael stone

    Anonymous | 8-May-2014 1:28 pm

    Any progress on the sunshine from cucumbers research ? New sunlight-based energy sources desperately needed at present.

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  • Resources have got nothing to do with compassion, respect or dignity.
    I have worked with plenty of nurses that never ever possessed those qualities in the first place.

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  • excellent book which all healthcare profis. and workers should read

    'Focus. The Hidden Driver of Excellence' by Daniel Goleman. Whole section on compassion, lack of and good insight into why managers and why some treat their staff so badly.

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