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National nursing strategy: action areas


The NHS Commissioning Board has published a three year plan for nursing called Compassion in Practice. It identifies six “areas of action”:

Helping people to stay independent, maximise well-being and improving health outcomes

Led by: David Foster, deputy chief nurse at the Department of Health

This area is focused on public health and social care and includes proposals to set up a network of nurses and other staff working in social care settings to share ideas about improving health and wellbeing.

It also recommends supporting midwives to take a bigger public health role and making better use of technology to help inform patients to make shared decisions. Nursing staff should use their skills at relationship building to “stimulate greater integration” of health and social care, it says.


Working with people to provide a positive experience of care

Led by: Liz Redfern, currently chief nurse NHS South of England

The friends and family test, which asks patients whether they would recommend the service they have received, is identified as the main driver for measuring improvements in patient experience.

Staff will also be asked the question while the NHS Commissioning Board will develop measures for specific groups of patients such as children and patients with dementia.


Delivering high quality care and measuring the impact

Led by: Gill Harris, currently chief nurse at NHS North of England

More use will be made of the Patient Safety Thermometer, which measures incidences of common causes of harm such as pressure ulcers and falls. It will also be adapted for other settings including mental health and learning disabilities.

New metrics and indicators which can be used to measure high quality care will be developed, influenced by recent work from King’s College London’s National Nursing Research Unit.

A small percentage of an NHS trust’s income could be made dependent on collecting data for the new metrics while the CQC will also consider how it could use them.


Building and strengthening leadership

Led by: Caroline Alexander, director of quality improvement at NHS Tower Hamlets

A leadership programme that will lead to a nationally recognised qualification is under development by the NHS Leadership Academy. Participants will do placements where specific skills are used such as change management or patient engagement. It is hoped it will take its first students in September 2013 and will be aimed at long-serving ward managers as well as new ones.

This area also recommends mentorship programmes for aspiring leaders and involvement of junior staff in leadership and service improvement early in their careers.


Ensuring we have the right staff, with the right skills, in the right place

Led by: Ruth May, director of nursing for NHS Midlands and East

This area recommends tools used to determine appropriate staffing levels in acute settings are refined. The DH will commission the development of evidence based staffing levels for mental health, learning disabilities, community and social care settings and will work with other national organisations to improve arrangements for recruitment, induction and training of healthcare assistants. More detail is expected in the new year on proposals for an “apprenticeship” scheme or foundation course.  

It also recommends the development of models of clinical supervision to provide emotional support for qualified nurses and midwives.


Supporting positive staff experience

Led by: Trish Morris-Thompson, chief nurse at NHS London

The cultural barometer developed by senior nurses including Dame Elizabeth Fradd, Baroness Emerton and Sir Stephen Moss, is to be honed and rolled out so that organisations can measure their culture.

The DH and the commissioning board will develop an improved model for clinical placements, preceptorship and supervision. It also recommends a drive to increase the number of staff who have a good quality appraisal

Teams who have gone the extra mile to implement the 6 Cs will be recognised with a national award.


Readers' comments (23)

  • Well this is right load of cr*p! How many rather too highly paid people are eeking out their jobs by 'leading' this? The jockeying for 'honours from the Queen' going on here, is sickening.

    Will there be any pay rises for staff (it's been so long since we've had one)? Any fewer redundancies? Will our pensions be any fairer? Will there be more staff and resources?

    The answer to all of the above is, NO!

    Cameron, Hunt et al,
    Give us the staff and resources, pay us a decent wage, get your mitts off our pensions, get rid of the government puppets and get some real nurses (not those who haven't sniffed the inside of a ward for YEARS!) to sort out the NHS. Oh and leave us alone to get on with it!

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  • I repsect the post above view but actually and truthfully. Seeing nightly the news of patients dying in our care and the public view of what we do being tarnished at every point. i welcome the investment to drive up standards and professionalism for nurses. Just because we are getting hammered in our T&C along with everyone else it does not mean we should not comit to be the best that we can be for patients and our profession. Time to step up to the plate and not get caught up in petty politics or presenting the profession as individuals who only come to work for T&Cs (which i know as a nurse for over 25 years no one does). We are driven by the need to support others and add value even in the most difficult places to work. i am proud to be a nurse

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  • Anonymous | 11-Dec-2012 11:31 am

    But that's the problem. You have fallen for the government line about poor care and nurses being wholly responsible for it.

    As a nurse for over 30 years, I can tell you that I have never come to work purely for 'T&Cs' (what a dreadful way of describing the right to fair pay and decent conditions). But as a well qualified, experienced, extremely hard-working nurse, am I expected to see my staffing reduced; my pay frozen for years (when those who have caused the climate in which this has occurred go without sanction); the pension that I have paid into for decades now with increased contributions, more working years and less at the end of it? Remember Nursing has never been a particularly well paid profession, so we were not starting from a brilliant position before all the cuts and attacks on out 'T&Cs'.

    When you say "step up to the plate", what do you mean? I mean in specific, practical terms not woolly concepts and vision.

    Most nurses are very good at seeing what is wrong and what it would take to put it right. They are also extremely poor at articulating these facts effectively or actually doing anything constructive about it. In fact, they usually add to the problems and make them worse by accepting every mad policy and patient-endangering scheme introduced by the muppets at the top.

    It is because I want the best for my patients and profession that I will always speak out when the smoke and mirrors brigade come to town to peddle their empty promises and policies. If some are too stupid to see it, then they are just part of the problem.

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  • Anonymous | 11-Dec-2012 11:31 am

    Utter rubbish. To suggest that we should all set aside our NEED to come to work for a fair remuneration in favour of jumping onboard the latest government fiasco which will probably do little to help our patients, is downright insulting.
    I have a family to support and I am also proud to be a nurse. The need to earn enough money to support my family AND being a caring nurse are not mutually exclusive. I will be fighting as I always have for a decent wage for my hard work. I and my colleagues should expect nothing less.
    I agree with Anonymous | 11-Dec-2012 8:56 am
    "Give us the staff and resources, pay us a decent wage, get your mitts off our pensions, get rid of the government puppets and get some real nurses (not those who haven't sniffed the inside of a ward for YEARS!) to sort out the NHS. Oh and leave us alone to get on with it!"

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  • tinkerbell

    Anonymous | 11-Dec-2012 6:18 pm

    I haven't even read this latest load of old tosh properly but i am in total agreement with you.

    I'll read it properly later and will still be in total agreement with you.

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  • Since when were 'real nurses' only those that regularly sniff the inside of a ward? What a small world you must live in.

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  • Anonymous | 12-Dec-2012 11:25 pm

    But not as small as yours apparently.

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  • Anonymous | 14-Dec-2012 10:24 am

    What provoked such an unkind and pointless comment and what does its author attempt to achieve by it?

    It doesn't seem that NT gives licence to attack others posting comments here.

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  • Anonymous | 14-Dec-2012 9:08 pm

    I think you'll see that it was posted in response to an "unkind and pointless comment" posted by Anonymous | 12-Dec-2012 11:25 pm. If you want to troll around trying to cause offence then don't expect that to go unchallenged.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Anonymous | 14-Dec-2012 9:08 pm

    It doesn't seem that NT gives licence to attack others posting comments here.

    so why are you doing it then?

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