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Enthusiastic response to new nursing inspections


Are nurse-led inspections by the Care Quality Commission a positive move?

Around 50 senior nurses will take part in the new series of nursing-focused hospital inspections looking at areas such as dignity and nutrition for older patients, which start this month.

The unannounced visits will take place at 100 hospitals over the next three months under the programme being run by the Care Quality Commission.

The regulator said there had been a huge amount of enthusiasm from nurses wishing to take part with more than 200 expressions of interest. Those taking part include executive nurses and elderly care leads, said a CQC spokesman.

They will work alongside CQC inspectors to assess whether specific wards are meeting the regulator’s new “essential standards of quality and safety” around respect, involvement of patients, and nutrition.

They will be accompanied by an older person who has received hospital care to provide a patient’s perspective. Inspection teams will speak to patients on the wards and look at feedback from local involvement networks and other local groups.

Debbie Mead, who is leading the programme for the CQC, told Nursing Times the profession had a vital role to play. She said: “It’s not the first time we’ve brought nurses in from outside CQC to help with inspections. But it is the first time we’ve asked for nurses to take part in a themed review.

“We thought that for these inspections it was important to involve people with very recent practical experience of clinical practice.”

The programme follows a critical report by the Health Service Ombudsman highlighting serious failings in older patient’s care.

Last week health secretary Andrew Lansley told Nursing Times he felt it was crucial nurses were at the forefront of the CQC inspections.

“This is senior nurses who have practical experience themselves identifying what should and shouldn’t be happening and making it clear where things need to be put right,” he told Nursing Times.

The CQC will publish individual inspection reports as well as drawing together findings in an overview report.


Are nurse-led inspections by the Care Quality Commission a positive move?

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Readers' comments (6)

  • Gemma Watford

    I think its a good idea to have these unannounced inspections, as it will show things as they really are instead of being able to cover them up, like before, when bad practice seemed to be tolerated by many even nurses! Elderly patients will see this as a good way of showing both good, effective, timely and compassionate care and the other extreme of poor quality care, neglect and ignorance. This measure will also reassure the public that at last older people in hospitals will finally have a 'voice'.
    Maybe as well malnutrition in older people will decrease, although this can still only happen if the hospitals concerned stopped with this waste of time contracting out of patient meals, as very often nothing gets eaten and there is a huge waste problem running into tens of thousands of pounds. Also, they need to re-instate modern catering kitchens where food is freshly prepared and sourced from local suppliers, making the cost of meals just the same if not cheaper, per patient, and there would be less waste,and patient satisfaction on that score would go up. I say go ahead with these measures as soon as possible! Thanks also to nursing times for a timely review of elderly services, and a very interesting article it was to read, well done!

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  • I hope these nurse inspectors know more about what they're doing than the one who gave a talk on the role of the CQC and how it would affect my industry - she was remarkably ignorant about her target audience and their needs and how the CQC regulations would affect them.

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  • "... recent practical experience of clinical


    If this scheme is to have credibility it needs trustworthy individuals who are able to express themselves correctly.

    It sounds a reasonable idea but is it just another costly experiment like all the other failed ones which do not address the main issue of lack of funding and other resources directed where they are needed i.e. patient care? This Commission will need their salaries, and how will the nurses taking part be remunerated? If they do receive extra pay for this task it will set them apart form the rest of their colleagues creating yet another unnecessary layer in the hierarchy.

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  • I'm curious about the details and objectives of the inspections. I agree that recent and relevant clinical experience is a must. I also think that a new approach with an aim of trying something new, as mid-staffs has shown us the previous box ticking and form filling doesn't reflect the reality on the floor.
    I hope the approach will be assessment of situations with a 'no-blame' and constructive attitude in order to improve things.

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  • Adrian Bolt

    "The regulator said there had been a huge amount of enthusiasm from nurses wishing to take part"

    I bet there was!

    Q. Would you rather work an eight hour shift on a heavy orthopaedic/ elderly care ward breaking your back for £24k a year? Or would you rather swan round said ward armed with a clipboard telling said ward how they should be doing it?

    Why don't they tell these clip board wielding "executive" nurses and "elderly care leads" to roll up their sleeves and do an honest days work for a change?

    I find it little short of scandalous that at time when budgets are being slashed, services cut, newly qualified nurses unable to find work that there is still money to employ an “executive” probably on a band 7 or even 8a to tell others how to do their job. If there were more ward nurses and fewer “executive” the patients under our care would be better served.

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  • Do you know that it is very easy just to walk onto a ward at any time and note all that has not been done, without having knowledge of what actually has been done. Our bosses were very good at this and if I had so wished I could have walked onto a neighboring ward and made the same observations of my colleagues. On a shift when there have been emergencies and maybe one nurse alone work has had to be prioritized and there may not have been the time for the less important tasks, often administrative, which can be carried out later or those that have even been omitted or forgotten. Patients are also good at asking for a bedpan as soon as somebody more senior, a doctor, (who don't do bedpans) or even a nurse from another ward walk onto the ward or telling the boss that they have been waiting for ages as soon as s/he walks onto the ward. How does this leave the nurse who has been rushed off her feet and doing here very best?

    How many times have I walked onto my ward for a shift when everybody is supposed to down tools immediately to give report, only to find a harassed colleague rushing around and may discover later that she has gone home and left a soiled sheet in the corner or forgotten to empty a bed pan - when the reason for this is obvious I find no problem in finishing off or rolling up my sleeves to help without further comment. It should work both ways however. How often have colleagues come on duty when I have also encountered similar problems with an urgent work load and clicked their tongues and waited sulkily in the office because I am not immediately available to give report or come and found me when they see I am busy and demanded the report immediately. How often have I been reprimanded for forgetting some minor task which they could easily have rectified for me without criticism - because how often is it that we do get everything right first time, far more often than not. Emergencies do not happen every single day and there are probably more days when we do get things right than not and this can best be gaged by the comfort and satisfaction of the patients in our care from whom we fortunately received plenty of positive feedback!

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