Our new three-year plan, Compassion in Practice, sets out our values underpinning excellence for nurses, midwives and care staff as the 6Cs.
It also sets out six areas for actions, which are priorities for achieving better care and better health outcomes.
The 6Cs, which are care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment, are a statement of the constants of nursing and midwifery for a modern health and care system.
The six action areas identified to implement the plan are: helping people to stay independent by maximising wellbeing and improving health outcomes; working with people to provide a positive experience of care; delivering high-quality care and measuring its impact; building and strengthening leadership; ensuring we have the right staff, with the right skills, in the right place; and supporting positive staff experience.
The vision and strategy recognises the importance of public health. We all have key roles in preventing ill health and promoting good health and wellbeing, including health protection, health promotion and early intervention. This starts at the very beginning to give our children the best start and continues throughout life.
As well as supporting specialist public health nurses and midwives, our aim is to maximise the contribution of all nurses, midwives and carers to improve public health by making every contact count for health and wellbeing.
The values and action areas apply to all areas of practice, and working with patients, professionals and professional bodies we have published a number of “strategy on a page” visuals showing compassion in practice in areas including practice nursing, public health nursing for children and young people, public mental health nursing and dementia care.
The next steps to implement and deliver the vision begin now. To achieve the greatest impact, all of us need to embed the 6Cs in everything we do. Leaders need to ensure that there is strong support from local organisations and national bodies.
We will continue to work collaboratively with key stakeholders and partner organisations to share good practice and ensure everyone has an opportunity to contribute to the achievement of the vision. We will also work closely with frontline staff to understand the barriers that we need to address and overcome, so this vision reaches the heart of every setting and makes a positive and sustained difference to the people we care for.
Some of the actions are subject to piloting, further testing and appraisal, after which further recommendations will be considered. Many of you contributed to the consultation and your views and suggestions will be further reflected as we produce implementation plans for the action areas set out here. The full implementation plans for this vision and strategy will be available by 31 March 2013.
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Viv Bennett is director of nursing at the Department of Health