Hospital nurses could face extra pressure to hit targets on tissue viability under new rules linking them to trust funding.
NHS trusts will face financial penalties if they fail to halve the number of pressure ulcers in their organisation during the next financial year, under the Department of Health’s Commissioning for Quality and Innovation scheme.
Hospitals and community services already measure pressure ulcer incidence using the NHS Patient Safety Thermometer audit tool. It also pools data on falls, urinary infections in patients with catheters and treatment for venous thromboembolism.
Under the CQUIN scheme, trusts have lost out on income this year if they failed to report a full set of data from the thermometer. However, from April, trusts will also be required to agree a target to reduce pressure ulcers.
New guidance has recommended organisations are challenged to cut grade 2 to 4 pressure ulcers by a minimum of half or risk losing out on part of their funding. A trust with a £300m annual turnover could lose up to £375,000 a year if they fail to meet the target.
Latest data shows 6.6% of patients developed a pressure ulcer between April and July 2012.
Julie Vuolo, senior lecturer in tissue viability at Hertfordshire University, told Nursing Times she hoped a target would bring extra focus on reducing pressure ulcers.
But she warned it might also lead to extra pressure on nurses and managers “finger pointing at staff”. “I worry about the burden on nurse specialists, who is going to be responsible when the target is not met,” she said.
Latest data shows 6.6% of patients had a pressure ulcer between April and July 2012, making them the biggest single cause of avoidable harm to patients while in NHS care. Just 1.2% of patients suffered harm due to a fall and 4.7% from a new urinary infection.
Previous data from the safety thermometer has demonstrated that an average reduction in pressure ulcer prevalence of 42% was possible through correct equipment, intentional rounding and ensuring adequate hydration and nutrition.
- Join the NTClinical chat on 7 February, 4pm, on nursingtimes.net with Vanessa McDonagh and Amy Oldfield discussing their 100 Days Free initiative to reduce pressure ulcers at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire Trust