We can be confident that compassionate care is already being delivered as a reality, and where we can do better, we will listen, learn and act, says Jane Cummings
Robert Francis QC has called for nursing leaders to address the serious issues he raised in his report following his inquiry into Mid Staffordshire and we, as a proud and resilient nursing community, have accepted that challenge.
The expectations raised within the Francis recommendations set the bar at a new but realistic, responsible and attainable level.
Our response has been nothing but professional, passionate and resolute. Whatever criticisms and pressures we have faced, our focus, as always, remains the best interests of our patients.
We have reacted positively while under the media microscope. It’s the sort of response that nurses always give whenever they are put under intense pressure, and I am already very proud of that.
Mr Francis has called on us to strengthen our collective voice so the need for nurses to do their job more effectively is articulated in a better and stronger fashion.
It is this approach that sits at the heart of our Compassion in Practice strategy, which was launched last December and the detailed implementation plan that we launched just a month ago.
There is already a great deal of positivity, enthusiasm and momentum building around the strategy, with strong support for it being demonstrated by nurses, midwives and care staff alike. This is vital for the plan to be a success and we remain confident but not complacent, determined yet vigilant.
I have already seen evidence of the 6Cs - care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment - in the countless areas of England that I have visited.
“I am confident that we will deliver everything we have pledged and more”
Work is well under way in the six areas of action: helping people to stay independent, maximising wellbeing and improving health outcomes; working with people to provide a positive experience of care; delivering high-quality care and measuring the impact; building and strengthening leadership; ensuring we have the right staff, with the right skills, in the right place; and supporting positive staff experience.
We presented our high level plans booklet to Mr Francis in March, which detailed three levels of action to ensure staff can care compassionately for patients.
It detailed how we will help patients stay as independent as possible and how we will build a workforce that has the skills to deliver the 6Cs.
It also explained how we are already getting feedback from our patients, their carers and families, so that we can learn and improve on everything we do.
From speaking to them, we can be confident that compassionate care is already being delivered as a reality, and where we can do better, we will listen, learn and act.
We are putting patients at the centre of everything we do and we are being open and transparent about what we are doing.
We will be launching the 6Cs Live! communications hub. We will be staging webinars, where you will be able to take a virtual tour of the site, see an overview of what it offers and discuss opportunities to get involved.
Please also look out for the many conferences that my team and I are speaking at about the strategy.
Following the Francis report, we have checked and refined our plan. But we must keep in mind that no single part of it can be implemented on its own - we must deliver across the board, deliver all six parts.
This is a three-year strategy, so it won’t all happen overnight. But I am confident that we will deliver everything we have pledged and more.
● Find out more about Compassion in Practice at www.england.nhs.uk/nursingvision
Jane Cummings is chief nursing officer for England