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Mid Staffs failings put directors of nursing under scrutiny

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Directors of nursing are under scrutiny from strategic health authority chief nurses following the Francis report into serious care failings at Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust.

NHS South Central chief nurse and director of clinical standards Katherine Fenton is asking all directors of nursing in the region to provide “personal assurance” that the quality of care in their organisations “is not reflective” of the findings of the report.

“Directors of nursing are professionally accountable to me. I am contacting every one to hear from them personally exactly what they have done, how they communicate with their board and how they make sure their voice is heard,” she told Nursing Times.

“We need to dig beneath “tick box” exercises and identify any trusts that need a personal visit,” she added.

A Nursing Times survey last week found that around a third of nurses were not confident or not at all confident that the poor levels of care seen in Mid Staffs were not experienced in their organisation.

NHS East of England chief nurse Ruth May has met with all directors of nursing in the region “to discuss the findings and implications” of the Francis inquiry, and NHS North East director of nursing and patient safety professor Aidan Mullan has agreed “actions and monitoring arrangements” directors of nursing need to take in response to the report.

“We are taking the findings of the Francis report extremely seriously and are implementing a region-wide safety assurance framework to ensure the north east has a robust early warning system for quality and safety issues,” he said.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Very laudable that this is happening, pity there were not better monitoring systems in place prior to the scandal of Mid-Staffs and others. Also the Directors of nursing are professionally accountable to the Nursing and Midwifery Council, and as such if they are sanctioning neglectful practice, as indicated by the media reports, then they should be brought before the NMC and if necessary struck off the Register.

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  • I agree in part, but taking extreme action against individuals would not address the underlying problems. For instance, why were changes implemented without taking into account the views of nursing staff? This happens a lot everywhere, and I think that the lack of real voice and power for nurses is a contributing factor. Everyone would have taken notice if consultants had been making a fuss about patient care, but nurses just don't get listened to. And, what did the RCN do about it? Peter Carter 'visited' - big deal. So come on RCN and NMC, show some guts and stand up for nursing.

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