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CNO reveals plans to make 6Cs a reality

A detailed programme of actions designed to make the “6Cs” a reality across the NHS has been unveiled by England’s chief nurse.

The new national nursing strategy, Compassion in Practice, was launched in December by NHS Commissioning Board chief nursing officer Jane Cummings and director of nursing at the Department of Health Viv Bennett.

It is centred on the six key values they believe should be at the heart of nursing – care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment.

The implementation plan, revealed by Ms Cummings last week, includes national projects to transform nursing at every level of the health service with local plans for hospital trusts and individual actions for staff to change their behaviours.

Actions include:

  • Establishing a forum for directors of nursing to co-ordinate professional leadership;
  • Improving feedback from patients, particularly vulnerable groups;
  • Ensuring patients are allocated a named nurse or midwife to coordinate their care;
  • Roll-out of a cultural barometer to assess the working environment on hospital wards;
  • Development of metrics to measure compassionate care;
  • Establishing a national scheme to recognise excellence in implementing the 6Cs.

Ms Cummings said a key aim of the implementation plan was to demonstrate the impact staff experience has on patient experience and the standard of care delivered on hospital wards and in community settings.

“We know the evidence for the link between positive staff experience and patient experience; we need to be able to measure staff experience and act on it,” she added.

Ms Cummings also revealed the patient safety thermometer, which is used in NHS trusts across the country to measure avoidable harm such as pressure ulcers and falls, could be modified to allow nurses access to “real-time” information so they can “make a change and respond”.

As reported by Nursing Times last year, there will also be work to develop evidence based staffing levels, with trust boards urged to sign them off and publish them every six months.

Locally, hospital trusts will be urged to analyse their culture and make the results public, improve the leadership at ward level, assess the impact on quality of care when changing how staff are deployed and improve appraisals for staff to incorporate the six C’s into the process.

Ms Cummings added: “We have a massive opportunity to make a real difference and be able to tell people about the good work that goes on but the fact people still get poor care means we have a lot still to do.

“These are the six areas we talked about in December. We have detailed plans that sit below each of them with an agreed action and a lead person to deliver that.”

A summary of the implementation plan was unveiled at the Healthcare Innovation Expo event in London but Ms Cummings said more detail would be published following the government’s response to the Francis report, expected next week.

She noted there was a lot of overlap between the issues covered by the strategy and the Francis report into the scandal at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust.

“The actions set out in this vision and strategy, will change the way we work, transform the care of our patients and ensure we deliver our culture of compassionate care,” she said.

The implementation plans are available on the NHS Commissioning Board website at

Readers' comments (40)

  • Susan Markham

    Ummmm... Is Jane Cummings living in La-la-land?

    Cummon - tell me I am not the only one who can see The Emperor is not only naked - but also stupid.

    Nursing and Nurses are under attack like no other time in the last four decades of our profession's history - bah I need not go into details but 1% increase after a three year wage freeze... nurses being sodomized in the media as "evil"... the totally inefficient NMC jacking up their registration fees (well beyond the 1% we are going to get) and yet giving unqualified "immigrant" nurses a UK "Registered Nurse" status??????

    Am I wrong or am I wrong?

    Six Cs?

    You are joking aren't you little Missy?

    The only Six Cs any nurse (with any common sense) will see is when they are hanging over a boat-rail with sea-sickness on a boat to the USA, Canada or Australia...

    Jane Cummings - remove your head from Germy Hunt's rectum and get back to reality....

    Perhaps you might like to do a few shifts on a ward as a "real" nurse and then pontificate about how the 6Cs relate to nursing in 2013!

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  • Oh Cummings, you silly woman. Go soak your head!!

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  • It's exactly this kind of spin generated crap that has lead me to leave nursing forever! Bye!

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  • Anonymous

    The devil is in the detail and implementation, for this sort of stuff.

    For example, this Cultural Barometer - will it be mercury-filled, or what ?

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  • yes please. Lets all smile and sing and dance and welcome the 6c's with open arms and be happy McNurses .
    meanwhile back in the real world. Why the hell isn't the chief nurse fighting for nurse patient ratios.. WHY how much evidence has there to be about the impact on patient care before anyone listens. Oh right yeah that would be money well spent, Instead lets spend millions on more PR spin and sticking plasters over huge festering wounds.

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  • This is back to front. If there aren't enough staff, fix that first. There are 14 other hospitals being investigated because they could be another Mid Staffs and OMG how surprising, their staffing levels are low.
    I am a scientist and use research to make a business case but for God's sake, this argument over nursing ratios has been made umpteen times. Let's just get on with it and leave the touchy feely crap for people with nothing better to do.

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  • The Nobody

    "I am a scientist and use research to make a business case..."

    that is the problem, these people are not and don't! The do the investigations and studies, get the results and stats and then have no idea what to do with them so they turn to the touchy feely instead as they probably believe they being perceived as doing something rather than nothing!

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  • 7th 'C'....Clueless.
    Daft CNUT!

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  • Iama Cynic | 18-Mar-2013 6:42 pm

    That's made me laugh! Thanks for cheering me up.

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  • Most of us already have the 6 "C's", we just need enough staff to put them into action in a timely fashion when patients need us. With low staff/patient ratios this is impossible. It's been said a thousand times, please listen.
    And then stop using such crass gimmicks which make us as a profession look like Mickey Mouse. Would the police, military, legal profession, estate agents, etc etc submit to this childish nonsense?

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  • I agree with all the comments above, in particular: Anonymous | 18-Mar-2013 7:52 pm. We are being belittled and ridiculed by our own profession. The national scheme of so-called 6 'C's suggesta that the majority, if not all, of nurses do not possess these qualities - what an insult. You can't tar everyone with the same brush.

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  • Oh yes, the comments on here have just cheered me up no end - there is hope for nursing yet!

    Anonymous |18-Mar-2013 7:52pm I agree with everything you say!

    Susan Markham - well said (and respect to you for being braver than "anonymous" me ). The Emperor is naked, stupid and gibbers like an idiot every time she opens her mouth to provide us with words of wisdom!

    Jane Cummings, add your name to the list of DoH managers who will be venturing forth to spend time on wards in the real world soon and let's see how many of the Cs you manage to implement when looking after 8 or 10 often elderly, sick and dependant patients on a 12 hour shift!

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  • Anonymous | 18-Mar-2013 3:05 pm

    I'd like to be a happy McNurse. this thought made my day and I would prefer to be called that than a Virgin Nurse. I would wear the uniform with pride - I think it could be well adapted and very practical for nurses. How about a white baseball cap with a red cross on it and a red tabard saying 'do not disturb, I am busy'! ? Colour co-ordination is of course very important and i suppose there could be different colours for different roles although I find this in this day and age rather undemocratic although it might help patients and visitors understand who is who - open to debate!

    I entreat everybody before they rush to accept adoption of the 6 Cs to take a look at the Starbucks and Prêt à Manger, etc. management models and philosophies indoctrinated into their staff - there might be some little gems there which are far better alternatives to a mere few words beginning with C!

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  • Maybe we could also have a badge with 6 stars on our uniform we can fill as we gain the 6c's. And dont forget to ask every patient would they like to supersize their cup of tea..

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  • How did nurses cope in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s without the 6cs?

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  • Anonymous | 19-Mar-2013 11:14 am

    don't forget to ask as well whether it is to have in or 'to go' or you may lose a star and some money for your trust. soon they are to be asked to pay for their meals which presumably means extra for a cup of tea.

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  • Will someone please put this woman out of our misery?!

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  • michael stone

    Anonymous | 18-Mar-2013 2:24 pm

    Hi Real Anonymous - surely aneroid, considering that mercury is now considered to be so lethal ?

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  • Iama Cynic, did you intend to make Cnut ambiguous? Being an anagram of obscene word and also the proper name of the king who tried to stop the tide (English Canute).

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  • I told our hospital matron on a shift last week that we were understaffed that it was dangerous and I couldn't nurse my patients properly.

    The response.... fill in an incident form and make sure your paperwork is completed !!
    Not a word about the patient. Is there any wonder Francis incidents happened and will be happening all over the country as I write this.

    All those at the top need to work at least a week on the wards and that includes Cummings. They would soon change their tune. We know it wont happen though and very soon another swathe of paperwork will hit the wards as the 6Cs are added to the tick box mentality.

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