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NHS regulator to give 'stronger focus' to nursing quality in future

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Nurses will assess services, develop measures to root our poor care and be supported to develop leadership skills under a vision set out by the Care Quality Commission.

CQC national clinical advisor Ann Close, a former nurse, was speaking to Nursing Times in the week the regulator unveiled a five year plan to improve the safety and effectiveness of care.

She said the new regulatory regime coming into force in April, when organisations have to register with the CQC, will place a much stronger focus on areas central to nursing, such as dignity.

She said: “It’s about how care is delivered and nurses are the people who are doing a lot of that immediate care with patients.”

The five year strategy reveals the commission is considering carrying out a special review of the quality of nursing care.

Ms Close said this was likely to look at levels of professional development needed to boost nurses’ leadership skills. “Nurses can’t deliver good quality care if they don’t have the leadership development they need,” she said.

Other possible reviews will cover nutrition and hydration, reducing preventable mortality in hospitals, and safe and effective surgery.

The commission is also planning to work with health and social care professionals to develop more specialist clinical measures that “differentiate good from poor care and safe from unsafe practice”.

Ms Close said one such indicator was likely to look at pressure ulcers.

Additionally, the CQC is keen to hear the judgements of clinicians working in multi-disciplinary teams carrying out peer reviews of services they do not work in.

Some teams of nurses and other health professionals are already doing this in relation to cancer services and Ms Close said she could envisage this being rolled out to “most aspects of care”.

Patient feedback will also feature more heavily in the regulator’s assessments of trusts, providing it with more information such as how patients are being fed. This could potentially trigger inspections.


How nursing features in the Care Quality Commission’s 5 year plan, 2010-2015

  • Focus on personalised care and dignity
  • Emphasis on patient feedback around areas such as nutrition
  • Possible report on the quality of nursing, looking at leadership skills
  • Nurses to carry out more peer reviews of services
  • Development of specialist clinical indicators
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