Three-minute interview with Tina Donnelly, director of RCN Wales, on new plans involving nurses to take the pressure off Accident and Emergency.
NT: Nurses are heavily involved in the Welsh Assembly Government’s Delivering Emergency Care Strategy (DECS). What role did the RCN play in this?
TD: There has been a great deal of RCN involvement in this and yes, we are extremely happy with it as most of what is contained in it has been developed out of the RCN recommendations. It dates back to March 2005 when there were problems in emergency care – people being left on trollies. Our members were telling us their work load was too high and that patient care was being compromised.
So, we got about 80 nurses together - a whole range from across the profession, including staff nurses, emergency nurse practitoners and nurse managers from right across Wales. We asked them what the problems were and to try and come up with ways to resolve the situation.
They told us there were organisational constraints which were stopping them from providing the right type of services.
We came up with 28 recommendations and sent them off to the then governement which said it would look at them.
When Edwina Hart took over we explained nothing had happened and how long it had taken and she asked what we needed as a cloege to take things forward.
We told her she needed to bring together the professional groups which is exactly what she did, so we sat sown around the table with the BMA and UNISON and said what we thought would work.
A lot of the things that were in those 28 initial recomemendation have been included in DECS, like the walk in centres and nurse triage for example.
It’s an exciting time in Wales at the moment, nursing is able to have a direct impact on patient service now. We are being taken seriously and are being listened to and are able to influnece appropriatley, which is all trememdous.
NT: Why are nurses able to help take the pressure off accident and emergency services and what does it mean for them?
TD: : It means they will be empowered to deliver, they will be able to work within a team that gives the right care, for the right patient, at the right time. What that means is that you will have nursing staff being used in the most appropriate way to be able to deliver the best possible care for their patients.
NT: Will nurses welcome their involvement in DECS?
TD:Nurses will understand the benefits of this and they are already behind the ideas that have been brought forward by DECS because it is what it they told us they were wanting – there is already ownership of it.
It is not just because the RCN is saying these ideas should be used, we have been having regular meetings with the nursing staff and it is them who have been telling us this is how they want to be able to work.
Interview with Louise Tweddell