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All NHS staff told to embrace nursing's '6Cs'


All NHS staff – not just nurses and midwives – have been told they must “embrace” the values of patient care set out in the national nursing strategy for England.

Known as the “6Cs”, the values are care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment.

They are the centre point of the Compassion in Practice strategy unveiled earlier this month by NHS Commissioning Board chief nursing officer Jane Cummings and Department of Health director of nursing professor Viv Bennett.  

Latest operating instructions for the NHS, published today by the NHS Commissioning Board, state that “all staff” should comply with the 6Cs as well as nurses and midwives.  

The board’s first set of planning guidance – called Everyone Counts: Planning for Patients 2013-14 – will apply from April when the body takes over responsibility for the day-to-day running of the NHS from the Department of Health.

It said the national nursing strategy “sets out a new approach to improving our culture of compassionate care and in particular the actions necessary to maximise the role and expertise of nurses, midwives and care staff to deliver improved patient outcomes”.

But it added: “As well as nurses, midwives and care staff, we expect all staff, including doctors, managers and support staff to embrace these values.”

Applying the 6Cs beyond nursing staff was discussed at the CNO Conference in Manchester where the nursing strategy was unveiled. However, although supported by some, others at the conference argued that the idea might dilute the nursing strategy.

The commissioning board’s guidance also includes a new interpretation of the famous adage that the NHS should provide care “from the cradle to the grave”.

It states: “We all want to see the highest standards of care, from childbirth where women should have choice and personalised care through children’s services and adulthood to the end of people’s lives.”


Readers' comments (30)

  • michael stone

    The 'catch' with this one, hinges on the meaning of 'embrace' !

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  • what were these again? I need a reminder as I had forgotten them again by the time I read to the end of the article!!

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  • Joy Millar

    What are the 6 C's. I've never heard of them?

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  • If you develop a acronym 6Cs you've then got to somehow have to populate it. So the word courage begins with the letter C so lets stick it in, and yet has little to do with the rest of the words. care & compassion competence gets my vote & its good to talk so communication is up there. And as alot of us should be commited (;-)) commitment is certainly essential. Spin seems to ripe within the NHS and its certainly a catchy media ready acronym which no doubt be dragged up on a regular basis by the media when certain ones are perceived to fail it. Having worked for nearly 40 years in the NHS it never ceases to amaze me how we are continually patronized by the latest catchy phrase as if these are principles that never existed or we've never thought to apply these fundemental aspects of care. Of course its always the high profile cases that imply the care in the NHS is positively Dickensian, whilst the majority endeavour to continue to provide high quality care in an NHS thats being changed into a market place with AQP encouraging a competitive basis for providing care. How much will the 6Cs be adopted when more likely it'll be based on Cost, Credit, Cheap,Covert,Cuts & Can't

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  • Courage is fundamental in ensuring we advocate on behalf of our patients and their families.

    Courage is the element which compounds the other elements......without courage how do we challenge poor practice within our peer group or mdt treatment/care prescriptions.

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  • Tinkerbell

    Anonymous | 18-Dec-2012 3:08 pm

    Well said. Sick to back teeth of all this lipservice when we all know nursing haws reached a dead end at the moment with all these cuts to service and staff.

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  • Dear NT, it would be nice if you could add a like or dislike/ thumbs up / thumbs down facility for us to express our views on comments left

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  • could we not have some of the 'c's to stand for actually checking to confirm compliance - all too often it is tick box exercise. Management is asked 'are you compliant?' and they produce data indicating so........but so often it is a superficial exercise lacking any rigour

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  • courage is what you need to stand up to these beauracrats who continually patronise nurses. I wouldnt have been in this profession for 35 years if I hadnt followed the 6 CS.

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  • 'Change' ?


    Consistency and Continuity of Care?

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