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Brighton nurse says Francis report focus on profession is ‘welcome’

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The chief nurse of Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust has written to nursing staff in the wake of the government’s response to the Francis report.

Sherree Fagge asked her nurses to view measures introduced as a result of the public inquiry into Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust as an “opportunity” to improve, rather than a “negative reflection” of their work.

In her weekly newsletter to nursing staff, she noted that last week’s response to the Francis report by health secretary Jeremy Hunt had made nursing a “hot topic” in the media once again.

Ms Fagge said: “I can understand that what has been said can be difficult to hear for us as nurses and midwives, who virtually without fail come into work every day and try our very best for our patients.

“It is never nice to hear criticism about our profession, but I feel we should welcome this renewed focus on patient care and embrace the changes that come with it,” she said.

The government outlined a series of measures in response to the 290 recommendations made by the Francis report, accepting wholly or in part 281 of them.

These included making wilful neglect by clinicians and managers a criminal offense, and ordering trusts to publish regular details of nurse staffing levels on wards. It rejected nine recommendations including a call to regulate healthcare assistants.

Ms Fagge said Brighton and Sussex would be reviewing its own response to the Francis report to ensure actions were taken to improve care based on its recommendations.

“The core elements of the changes – setting high standards, providing compassionate care, being open and honest with patients and learning from our mistakes – are already top priorities for nurses and midwives, but there is always room for improvement,” she wrote.

“Rather than see the introduction of these new measures as a negative reflection of our work, we should see them as an opportunity to become even better than we already are,” she added.

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