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Accelerate work on nurse metrics

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Work to create an explicit framework of indicators to measure the quality of nursing care and its impact on patients must be accelerated, the Prime Minister’s Commission on the Future of Nursing and Midwifery urges.

The commission took evidence from the US and across Europe showing the link between patient outcomes and satisfaction and nurse ratios and styles of working. It also looked at research exploring the ability of nurses to work at the boundaries of the medical profession and in some cases substitute for doctors.

The commission was keen to be able to argue nursing quality metrics could be embedded in the commissioning for quality and innovation framework (CQUIN). CQUIN accounts for 1.5 per cent of hospital trust income but the Department of Health has said it could rise to 10 per cent over time.

But the commission concluded more work needed to be done on those measures as it was not yet possible to use them to compare the quality of care between organisations.

The commission’s final report will also aim to make the case for showing how high quality nursing saves money.

A number of its recommendations around training and status could require extra resources and a source close to the commission said it had been mindful of the political and economic context in which it made those arguments.

“They don’t want a document that would end up in the bin,” the source said.

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