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Guidance on 'named' hospital clinicians due in March

Guidance on allocating “named” nurses and doctors to patients for their whole hospital stay are to be published later this year, the health secretary has said.

In a speech last week, Jeremy Hunt praised the practice of putting the names of lead nurses and consultants above inpatient beds, which was adopted last year by University College London Hospitals Foundation Trust and King’s College Hospital Foundation Trust.

Mr Hunt said: “It is popular with patients, families and staff alike and can drive real culture change. Patients feel they are the most important person to that nurse, the person they feel safe with and the person who whilst they are on duty will be their advocate.

“They know which doctor is overseeing their care and who they can discuss their care and treatment with during their stay,” he added.

Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt

Based on this principle, Mr Hunt announced that “whole stay doctors” would be introduced in the NHS, who would be accountable for an entire inpatient care plan and be named above beds. However, he acknowledged there were instances where this role might be more applicable to a nurse.

“There may be times when the implementation of a joined-up care plan is delegated to other key clinical staff such as nurses,” he said. “I have asked the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges to develop guidance to support hospitals to take forward best practice, and this will be published in March.”

He added: “With improved continuity of care will come renewal and empowerment for staff. Because the system changes and barriers which impaired personalised care also de-professionalised and in places demoralised doctors and nurses.”

The health secretary’s announcement is in part a response to last February’s Francis report into care failings at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust. It recommended “patients should be allocated for each shift a named key nurse responsible for coordinating the provision of the care needs for allocated patient”.

In its response to the report in November, the government said allocating named or key nurses to individual patients would not to be made mandatory but would be encouraged.

Mr Hunt was speaking during a visit to Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust. He praised the trust’s chief nurse Eileen Sills and those involved in the “Barbara’s Story” project, under which all staff watch a short film about the experiences of a patient with dementia during a hospital visit.


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Readers' comments (13)

  • Need to put his name up there too so when the doctor and or nurse are not at work the patient can contact him ha ha .

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  • Rearrange these words...

    wheel the reinventing

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  • But this happens already - patients are always under a named consultant and on each shift nurses/HCA's are allocated to a group of patients for that shift, and will lead and co-ordinate the care. To have a named nurse for the entire stay is only helpful if that person is never going to have any time off, and will be working 24 hours a day. None of Mr Hunt's speech makes any suggestions which are not in place already, and neglects to mention the chronic understaffing and diluted skill mix which is the real reason for hospital teams being unable to deliver optimum levels of care all the time.

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  • michael stone

    This sort of stuff starts as looking like obvious common sense, and yet somehow often ends up as a tangled web of muddled box ticking - my, cynical, position !

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  • tinkerbell

    Andrew Lansley dies and goes to heaven. He knocks on the old pearly gates and out walks St. Peter. “Oh, it’s you,” says St. Peter, “I’m sorry, no Tories in heaven, especially not you.” “What?” exclaims Lansley, astonished. “You heard, no Tories, especially after what you did to the NHS.” “But, but, but, I know I made a mistake with the NHS bill but I’ve done some good things in my life”, replies Lansley. “Oh really”, says St. Peter. “Like what?” “Well” said Lansley, “Once, I gave 10 pounds to Oxfam”. “Oh” says St. Peter. “anything else?” “Well, another time I also gave a tenner to Dr Barnardos.” “Hmmm. Anything else?” “Yeah. A week before I died I gave 10 pounds to the RSPCA.” “Okay”, says St. Peter, “You wait here a minute while I have a word with the boss.”

    Ten minutes later, St. Peter returns, looks Lansley in the eye and says, “I’ve had a word with God and he agrees with me. Here’s your thirty quid back, now ***k off

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  • michael stone

    tinkerbell | 28-Jan-2014 7:30 pm

    This is 100% off topic, but R4 was playing an old clip from Outnumbered the other day, and the little girl, Karen, was saying some words as they buried a dead mouse.

    She finished with:

    "and we've put some bread and cheese with you, so you can have a sandwich during your journey to Heaven. And if you go to Hell instead, at least you've got cheese on toast"

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  • tinkerbell

    michael stone | 29-Jan-2014 10:49 am

    Obviously the name in that joke is interchangeable, it could be anyone in the ConDem clown party. They are so hell bent on their massive re-disorganisation that they don't know that named nursing has been going on now for donkeys years. They are just tinkering around at the edges, trivialising what's important and making important what's trivial, majoring in minors and minoring in majors. Now that they have also had their wicked way in passing the gagging laws yesterday no-one in future will be able to speak out safely. One more kick in the teeth for democracy. A small step for mankind undone but a huge step against democracy for the ConDems. Speak out whilst we still have a voice, cos' in case nurses still need reminding this is serious.

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  • Named nurse is sometimes a bit confusing; it should be changed to allocated nurse and changed as the nurses handover. Gives patients/relatives clarity at specific times of need.

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  • Oh dear. Named nursing failed utterly in every hospital I ever worked, right from the outset.

    No hospital nurse EVER takes that kind of continuing responsibility. Community nurses and health visitors are different, so are NPs.

    Haven't you ever rung a hospital ward, worried about a loved one and asked about them, only to get the response 'I don't know, I wasn't here yesterday/last night/this morning'? Happens to me every time and it's really scary.

    There is a real choice for professional nursing here. Either we start to pick up the same levels of continuing responsibility for caseload patients as our community colleagues do, or we admit we're just interchangeable widgets and we've actually left our brains at home, wrapped in a damp tea towel.

    And that's before we tackle the real logistical problems of patients being shuttled around from ward to ward and the lack of any proper nursing record keeping...

    I don't think hospital nursing is really ready for this idea at all.

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  • Right named Consultant for whole Hospital stay? Really? So when the surgical problem actually turns out to be a medical one and the patient moves to the more appropriate ward, do they stay under the Surgeon? I think not!! Honestly this idiot actually knows nothing about Hospitals and how they work!

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  • michael stone

    tinkerbell | 29-Jan-2014 11:22 am

    I also 'signed up' to the anti-gagging law campaign - i assume we both got the same e-mail about the tied vote in the HoL.

    But in reality, if the Lords vote the wrong way, the Goverment just send it back to them again.

    Anonymous | 30-Jan-2014 2:27 pm

    You make some good points - in particular, phoning a hospital and asking, often doesn't match up to visiting and looking.

    Although I'm not all that certain that 'continuity of nurse' is invariably present in the community, either - more present, I suspect yes, but not '100% present'.

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  • tinkerbell

    It is in our community posts as we are named 'care co-ordinators' and I designed my own post as a dedicated home link nurse, only down side of this is no-one picks up the pieces when one is on day off which is unacceptable but none of us are indispensable. We all have our own caseloads which others, understandably, are reluctant to take on if we're off sick on annual leave, as we are already stretched o the max. You cannot do more with less no matter how much spin, what you end up with is a stressed out workforce who end up going sick or leave.

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  • Named Nurse - should it be the blamed nurse... or blamed if you are not there nurse.......or blamed if you over worked nurse..........or line us all up in the morning and let the patients choose their nurse!

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