Since the enquiry into care failings at Mid-Staffordshire and various other care scandals, discussion of patient safety has been focused on regulation, processes and system change.
Of course these issues are hugely important, but at Nursing Times we believe that the national focus must be on ensuring nurses (and other clinicians) are engaged and supported.
From those changing the bedsheets to those scrutinising the spreadsheets, it is the staff who are at the heart of care provision and commissioning, ensuring that their patients are safe from harm.
Last year we saw the sudden halt of work on staffing levels, this responsibility now sitting with the newly formed NHS Improvement, a national driver for improvement across systems. At the Patient Safety Congress this year we are delighted to have Ruth May, director of nursing at NHS Improvement, and Professor Clifford Mann, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, presenting the latest work on safe staffing levels across settings.
Another crucial area to address is that of staff engagement.
Everything from analysing human factors work to assessing organisational culture and workplace bullying is essential for all providers and commissioners to understand and plan for. With streams on ‘culture for change’, ‘understanding human factors’ and ‘value based leadership’, we are proud to have national nursing leadership’s cooperation on this focus.
Our speakers this year include Janet Davies, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, Jackie Smith, chief executive of the Nursing and Midwifery Council and Dame Eileen Sills, director of patient experience at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.
Only together can providers and commissioners share their best practice on how to support staff to be the best they can be, preventing harm and improving patient experience.
Everyone has a role to play in ensuring the workforce is fit for purpose.